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A New Way to an Old Land— The Miller of Deyrolles— The Ciir6 in Exile— Of 
the Dirt of Llivia— I meet Biiio— Over the Hills— And far away— The 
Evangelists of San Severino — Pastoral Simplicity . . Pp. 1-44 



In the Shadow— The Wind among the Daffodils— The World's Oldest Tale- 
Traitor and True Man — Espluga in Francoli — The Ambush — Isidra hears 
Good Words — The Garden of Roses— Yet a little while , Pp. 45-84 



At San Severino — The White Coup — and the Black — The Mouth of Forget- 
fulness — Through the Velez — Conchita of the Bells — The Home of the 
Blackmailer — The Torre Toran — The Repairer of Mistakes — The Black 
Coup — Under Fire — We become respectable . . Pp. 85-130 


And Pharaoh dreamed a Dream — Mass at Daybreak — The Man in Faded 
Violet — Adam the Gardener — A Philosopher on Life — The Philosophy of 
Thistles — The Legacy of the Moor — Bino Asleep and Biiio Awake — "My 
Lord, the Carriage waits ! "—The Delight of El Seo— Allah il Allah !— 
Warm Hearts and Cold — I defend my Countrymen — Sun-work and Brush- 
work — A Little Scottish Maid Pp. 131-170 




Guilt Romantic — Bino in Love — The Outfit of Rodil — The Mender of 
Umbrellas — T descend in the Scale Social — Rodil's Mouth speaks Pearls 
— How Marinessia won the "Palms" — The " Copper's " Ambitions — Don 
Tomas of the Murders — A Family Executioner — Don Tomas the Younger 
— The " Big Bonnets " of Beggarland — One Dream the More 171 — 207 



The Links that Bind — Sweetheaits and Companions — A Strange Little Girl 
— "Heart of Gold "—Kissing goes by Favour ^Wet-Day Books — The 
Court-Yard of the Fusilade — The Washing Pool — Some Further Explora- 
tions — The Pine Glades — We meet Sancho Panza — Zaida makes a Dis- 
covery — Juan's Tizia — The Hour and the Men . . Pp. 209-246 



Good-bye to Zaida — A Voice out of the Void — A difficult Situation — A Run- 
away Maiden — Penique in the Sulks— Don Manuel explains — A Woman 
scorned — Don Manuel sees a Way — Morning at the Camping Ground — 
Rodil delivers Judgment — Zaida's Heart is changed — "Baptiste" and Silk 
— The Dreams of Youth — Rodil's Way of choosing a Wife Pp. 247-281 



Things (Spanish) are not what they seem — Bino Sharp-set on Marriage— The 
Spanish Poor — Five Men ride out — Bridge-work and Woodwork in Spain 
— No More Carlism — The New School of Carlists — In search of the Seat of 
War — The Carlist Fortress — We fraternise with the Enemy — The Moody 
Young Man — Battles arranged "while you wait" — Blank Cartridge — 
The Heat of the Fray — The Country is Saved . . . Pp. 283-321 



The Idle Apprentice — Great Peace on Elisonda — Some Dog Stories — Briquettes 
and Cardiff Coal — Two Romancers and an Editor — Water in the Dry and 


Thirsty Land — The " Devil Among the Stones" — A House of the Stone 
Ai;e—" My Sister Cyrilla" — The Connections of Life — Alone in the Hut 
— I search the Woods — I find Miguel Toro — An Apprentice Resin- 
gatherer — Morning in the Hut — High Noon in the Woods Pp. 323-361 



The Story of the Hunchback— A Wild Goat of the Hills— That Wicked Cyrilla 
— Sister Encarnacion — ^The Ways of a Witch — The Snake in the Grass — I 
hold the Key of the Mystery — Adan the Shepherd — A Question to ask — 
A Morning Rencontre — I ask the Question — The Secret of Zaida 

Pp. 363-398 



The Sadness of Miguel the Hunchback — We ride Away — The Queen of the 
North— The Cult of the Dead— A True " Caballero "—Don Picaro— 1 he 
Evil of New Garments — The Hill of the Dead — Pictures by the Way — The 
Solitary Light — The Shrine of the Virgin— At last — "Cyrilla ! " 

Pp- 399-435 



The New Cyrilla— The Mother-Heart — Alonso the Carlist — The Power or 
Helplessness — In the Fulness of the Time — The Madness of Cyrilla — Out 
of the thick Darkness— God guides Don Jos6 — The Sweet and the Bitter 
— Back to El Seo — Through the wintry Sierras — The Procession of the 
Innocents — The End of Hope Deferred — " My Englishman! " 

Pp. 436-477 


ALL the pictures in " The Adventurer " were taken on the spot and at 
the moment, often tinder very disadvantageous circumstances of lighting 
and environment. None of the figures were posed, and the few who 
knew they were being taken sufficiently advertise the fact by their self- 

By no means the finest photographs, technically, have been chosen, 
but solely those which illustrate the text. Whatever other merit these 
may lack, the little pictures reproduced here show Spain of to-day, 
especially in its wilder parts, with some variety and fulness. My 
hope is that these process blocks may also reflect in some measure the 
delight and happiness the author has had in sojourning so long among 
the most kindly and charming people in Europe. 

Finally, I consider it a debt which I am bound in honour to pay, 
that I should put it on record that all the photographs were taken with 
a half-plate hand camera, specially designed and manufactured for my 
purpose by Messrs. Newman & Guardia, of 92 Shaftesbury Avenue, 
Loudon. Battered on many a mule-back, dumped into casual streams, 
roughly mended with wire and string, twice apprehended and incar- 
cerated for high treason by officers of the law, explored in my absence 
by hands unskilful, maltreated in every possible way, this instrument 
remains at the close of seven years a war-worn veteran indeed, but 
not a whit the worse for any practical purpose. And as, most de- 
servedly, it has my confidence, so also has it my affection. Two 
thousand five hundred miles have I carried it, with mine own hand 
or upon mine own back, through the burden and heat of a Spanish 
sun. Ill day and good day it has gathered memories for me, and 
I xi'ere the worst of ingrates did I not acknowledge it. 

S. R. C. 


A Spate among the Mountains ...... Frontispiece 


Foix in the Ari6ge 2 

The Castle of Gaston De Foix ......... 4 

Like an Apple-Paring thrown over the Shoulder ..... 6 

The Mill of DeyroUes 7 

A new Niagara flashed forth from a side Lade ...... 9 

The Fall of Water the Priest saw me photograph . . . . .11 

The dirtiest Village I have ever seen ....... 16 

The Frontier Stream 17 

Neither Country would have me ........ 19 

Passing through the Lych-G.ate .... . . . . 26 

Lovers' Lane. Waters of Ur 29 

San Severino ............ 34 

So lost in Grief indeed that she neither saw nor heard .... 43 

Beside it sat Dona Isidra 47 

And so as he went by, the Bullet overtook him and he fell ... 58 

The Ruins of Poblet .......... 60 

Through the broken Porch into the Court ...... 61 

Under the Shadow of " El Pilar " 65 

There passed me two Priests ......... 68 

A Herdsman driving a Bunch of Cattle ....... 69 

The Plain, as far as I could see it, lay deserted . . . . -71 

From under the Cloister Arches ........ 72 

It was the Englishman, Richard Vincent ....... 73 

By the Abbey Wall 79 

The Rose Garden ........... 81 

A Montera Herdsman .......... 83 

The Moonlight struck on the white Cliff, sheer as a Cathedral Wall . 91 

Gipsy Horse-clipping .......... 97 

This second Bridge had Stone Foundations, a little ruinous, but with a 

t'i."- picturesque Parapet .......... 99 

A mere Huddle of white and red Houses on the Mountain Side . . loi 

The bold Keep of a ruined Castle, flanked by two Towers . . . 109 



An old Woman clothed in Black came along, driving before her a little 

Flock of Goats and She-Asses no 

He was called upon to stop. And he did not stop. " Voil^ tout ! " in 

A second old Woman more gaily attired .... . . 113 

A witching Marvel of an ancient Doorway 117 

Don Reinaldo in the Castle Yard 1 19 

The old Shed where the Packages were rubbed dry 125 

As we crossed the River for the last Time . ...... 127 

An Officer of Carbineers regarded us a little curiously as we passed . .128 
A Boy leaning on a Mule cocked a cunning Eye at us . . . .129 

The Cathedral of El Seo stood out above the Valley Mists as if built of 

Rose and Flame . . . . . . . . . -137 

An ancient Port — Half-Gate, Half Hole-in-the-Wall .... 139 

Sleepily he searched for a Match to try again 140 

By the Wayside I met yet another Philosopher 143 

There was a Sparkle of Light through the Leaves ..... 144 

The battlemented Castle, seen over a Foreground of R iver Reeds . . 146 

The Wind turns the dusk Willows Silver-grey J47 

The Arcades of the Streets were still invincibly gloomy .... 149 
They sat sternly sober, calm as Mothers in Israel . . . . -150 
Heat and Light filled the narrow Streets . . . . . . -151 

Bino and Marinessia at the Fountain 153 

The Girl looking up in his Face as they went 155 

The Bridge was a fine one, with two noble Arches ..... 159 

"An old Man," he said, " aye, an old Man ! " 161 

The delight of "La Delicia" ......... 163 

Neither Mendicant nor Beggar . . . . . . . -171 

Rodil owned a Waggon, blue-tilted, capacious 173 

By Profession Rodil was a Mender of Umbrellas ..... 177 

Busy at their Trade under the Shelter of the Town Well-House . . 178 
Presently she got her Footing and ran a little way with them, holding 

back with all her Weight 187 

Don Tomas of the Murders ......... 192 

His Wife's Ventorilla . . 193 

" My Knife was the better .Srtw^gTrt^or " ....... 195 

The Serpent may hiss, but he dare not strike ...... ic,9 

So now Penique waits .......... 200 

The Marquis at whose Door hs stands gave him that Pitch to beg from . 203 

A Stance Beggar ........... 204 

He shoulders the empty Bag, while she has all the heavy Weight to carry 205 

Yonder is old Crit6bal fumbling for his Coppers ..... 207 

Zaida at the Well 208 

I caught hold of her Hand and stopped her 217 

' ' I would not have run," she said, ' ' I would have stood with the Officers " 227 



Carmelita and Amparo down at the Brook ...... 229 

A splendid old Waterwheel, whose Plan was coeval with the Moors . . 232 

With a groaning of ungreased Axles Matador moved round his Circle . 234 

The " Gate of Pearl " , ^35 

A stout Waggoner on his Ox Team, taking a plenary Swig at his " Leather 

Bottel "............ 237 

Real Gipsies of Soria 239 

Thatched Huts in the little Palm Grove 241 

The Dwarf who lives by the Well-House of the Village .... 243 

From an upper Balcony Zaida waved a frantic Handkerchief . . . 247 

The Bridge-End of Miranda-Aran 249 

Meantime, Zaida sat and looked at us . . . . . . . 253 

Penique plays Ninepins .......... 254 

The Camping-Place on the Gravel Bar 259 

The great Doorway of Miranda-Aran 261 

She sprang into the Pool on the Ebro, the same they call " Fiench- 

woman's Pool "........... 264 

Gipsy Children, sloe-eyed, and tatterdemalion ...... 271 

But Zaida is no longer naughty ........ 273 

She would hear Amparo sobbing and the Chorus of the Washing- Women 

about their Pool .......... 277 

Men were working at the coarse Hay ....... 282 

Picturesque in the sweet Southern Light, we saw Silhouettes of Men and 

Women ............ 291 

Bridges suited to the Landscape as a becoming Dress fits a pretty Woman 292 

Queer Bridges we found — Triangular Bridges, Unnecessary Bridges . 293 

Dogs barked at us from ducky Archways ...... 294 

Wooden Balconies, Timber-strutted, overhang the Rush of the Water . 295 

At every House of any pretension there was a Crucifix .... 297 

A Crucifix casting a vast Shadow upon a whitewashed Wall . . . 299 

It felt just like going to Bed in a Flying Buttress 302 

These rough Towers seemed in perfect unison with their desolate 

surroundings . . - 303 

The two Sebastians sat one on each side of him 305 

The famous Elisonda, head and front of the Carlist " Rising " . . 309 
The whole Advance Guard of the Carlists came spurring their best along 

the Road 310 

" General Prim " lay permanently on a Wall . . . . . - 311 

We came upon a young Man moodily surveying the Scene . . 313 

Arboriculture as practised on the Mountain Slopes ..... 322 

Peace at Elisonda ^ . . . . 324 

A few Hens were pecking at nothing out in Elisonda Stableyard . . 325 

One of the Streams 326 

My two grey Towers of Yester-even 329 



The great white Agony of distressed Water rose up in Mist to the Skies . 333 

From the Bridge , 335 

The " Devil's " Back Uoor with the closed Shutters 337 

Birch and Dwarf Heath from the Bridge-End ...... 341 

Lo ! Before you stands the College Comrade ...... 343 

He lay silent and unconscious ......... 351 

The Advance Guard of Senor Valtierra's Pines ..... 355 

A little cane-built Hut, just on the Verge of the Woods .... 359 

She ran this Way and that, chasing a Butterfly ..... 362 

The " Mas " of Miguel and Cyrilla Toro 367 

The Courtyard of our little Farm ........ 372 

There was poor Adan Blasco to try her Tricks upon .... 375 

Through the Village Gate at Six-of-the-Clock ...... 376 

A common Mas of the Country ........ 377 

Cyrilla, going one Day through the Woods, found a wounded Stranger 

stretched out 379 

Through the Despoblado .......... 382 

The Cane-Brake ........... 383 

A solitary Shepherd directing his Flock away from me .... 387 

The Willows by the Water-Courses . . . . . . . .^ 391 

The famous Cathedral was glittering multi-coloureJ in the Light of 

Morning ............ 403 

He was mounted on a magnificent Steed. I had beneath me only a stout 

and very ugly Mule .......... 407 

A Friend who kept an Orange-Stall on the Pavement .... 413 

A Procession of Seminary Priests, going jovially with the Rest of the World 417 

Vendors within the Sacred Portals ........ 418 

Bakers' Shops, open to the Street as in the East ..... 419 

Out of a gloomy Archway issued a Monk of the White .... 420 

Little Processions of Nuns wended their Way down quiet Streets . . 421 

To calm the Temper of her Husband after Church 422 

Gay Flower Stalls on the Way to the City of the Dead .... 423 

In the little Mortuary Chapel a solitary Light burned .... 424 

In the richer part of the Cemetery 426 

In the poorer portions whole Families clustered like Bees . . . 427 

A beautiful Tomb of purest white Marble 428 

Our Lady of Tears and her attendant Penitent 429 

" Sometimes the Lost are found again ! " 433 

Women were teasing " Flock " Mattresses 437 

One terrible Day a Woman laughed at me in the Street .... 445 

He caught me by the Wrist, laughing 451 

Small Mountain Railways climbing asthmatically 457 

The Bishop resting, Staff in hand, outside the little Cathedral . . 459 

A Woman passed us with her Eyes in a Handkerchief .... 460 



By gloomy Cloisters we went 461 

The Sunshine flickering sparsely between the Pillars .... 462 

More beautiful than ever was La Delicia 463 

The Glamour of Indian Summer in the Air 464 

Wintry Granges with the Snow-Clouds drearily surging above them . 465 

The true Pioneer of CiviHsation 467 

Madame Biiio at the Fountain 469 

Three tall and gloomy Shapes, veiled and hooded, stalked solemnly along 471 
Two Doves in the Niche above were caressing each other with low 

njurmurings ........... 476 



Landmarks and boundaries were ever kittle cattle. Even 

Lawgiver Moses found it so. And since then they have 

been eternally causing trouble all the world 

over. The ancient proverb anent the blessed- ^^ 

ness of having little national history might ^, ; , 

, 1, „ wr>i J • , Old Land 

read equally well — " Blessed is the country 

with few land frontiers." For very surely do our neigh- 
bours with the latest, most rectified, and most scientific 
frontiers envy us our silver strip of salt water, concerning 
which we have reason to say with Tennyson, 

God bless the narrow seas — 
I would they were a whole Atlantic broad ! 

Now I wanted to get into Spain in my own way, and, 
lo ! on the very route I had chosen the local authorities 
were in the heat of the annual " frontier incident." 

Of course, had I entered by easterly Barcelona, or west- 
ward by " Fried Sole Island " over the historic Bidassoa, 
there would have been no difficulty. Also — important 
consideration — nothing to write about. But for one thing, 
I was already deep in the most picturesque and most 



townless of French departments, the Ariege. I lacked the 
courage to turn back over interminable railways. To go 
forward was so much easier, and certainly the Over There 
beckoned most bewitchingly from just beyond the white 
summits of the Pyrenees. 

What to me then were great cities and cathedrals. 


French hotels, and hired gipsy dancers ? Ford and 
Borrow beckoned me to their Spain — the Spain that 
does not change — tras los monies — over the hills and far 
away, where are mules and mantillas, sierras and 
smugglers, crisp sounding Catalan, boorish Andorran, 
stern Aragonese breaking into flame at the Hit of theyo/a, 
and, chiefest wonder of all, the Basque tongue — strange, 
mysterious, older than the world. 

I had wandered, driven by the weary ache of persistent 


insomnia, the length and breadth of this Sleepy Hollow of 
the South. At Foix, " chief place " of the Ariege, I had 
lounged away many days in its grass-grown square — red- 
breeched military everywhere about me, marching out 
before five in the mornings to the tuck of drum, and filing 
in again past the railway station before seven, with the 
free, clever marching step characteristic of the French 
soldier everywhere, from the North Bound of Dunkirk 
even to this same Foix in the Ariege. 

For a week without once winking (as now it seems to 
me) I had sat twiddling coifee spoons at little feckless tin 
tables, painted (oh, how vainly !) to represent the marble 
of Carrara. The little city's crown of towers became per- 
manently imprinted on my retina. As I read, I saw them 
dark or bright upon the page. Morning, noon, and night 
they were ever with me — iron-grey against the crimson- 
splashed dawn — thin and aerial in the white haze of noon, 
and again in the rich twilights of the South, becoming a 
veritable City of the Violet Crown, mediaeval version, duo- 
decimo size. 

At midnight and in the still hours when no cock crew, 
I had, alas ! too many opportunities of observing 
them trenching the Milky Way with triple coronal of 
velvety black. 

In the daylight I spent many hours up there, a visitor of 
some distinction, permitted to roam where he would, and 
to return at his desire out of the feudal ages. This privi- 
lege was not accorded because of the suavity of my 
address or any attractiveness attaching to my person, but 
solely because the old lady kept tame rabbits, which were 
for sale. I bought one (price 3f 50c. — tough !) and received 
into the bargain the freedom of the castle of Gaston de 

The remaining rabbits mumbled contentedly on the very 


window sill 
from which 
the count 
chaffed his 
enemy of Tou- 
louse when he 
threatened to 
cut through 
the rock pe- 
des tal on 
which the for- 
tress stands, 
and bring the 
whole inse- 
cure rookery 
about its own- 
e r's ears. 
Sometimes I 
took a note- 
book with me, 
that I might 
imagine the 
scene ; but instead of " By my halidom "-ing and " By'rlady"- 
ing, I was the better pleased to poke stale lettuce through 
the bars to Madame Thomas' rabbits, and watch, for hours 
at a time, their twitchy, hitchy, munchy gratitude. 

Then, leaving Foix by an easy route, I made my way 
slowly Spainward, getting ever deeper and deeper into 
the mountains. At one little town I watched half naked 
Titans founding iron in the most primitive fashion, and 
understood for the first time how the short swords were 
forged which the soldiers of Marius drove to the hilt in 
Ambro-Teuton breasts upon Mont St. Victoire. At lazy 
Ussat I drank the waters, because (and I found the reason 



good) there was nothing else to do, and nobody but myself 
to do it. At Ax-les-Thermes I bathed in more than 
Roman splendour (bring your own towel !), and the land- 
lady of the Hotel de Paris told me that as it was not the 
season she could offer me few luxuries except — the 
pleasure of her conversation. But, she added, " I must 
set one thing against another." 

I did — and ordered a carriage in the morning. 

But before I went, she told me (among other things) of 
a wonderful priest, who dwelt at the last mountain village 
before one ascended into the upper air — Hospitalet, the 
name of it. He was learned. He was kind. He "had 
the word." But — he was not in favour with his eccle- 
siastical superiors, who for their own reasons had isolated 
him in this elevated corner of the vineyard. The Abbe 
could tell me all I wished to know. Did all Englishmen 
ask so many questions ? 

I rose very early the next morning, convinced that all 
the geese in the Ariege, except the one which had lain 
heavy as lead on my conscience during the night, were 
cackling under my window. I looked out, and in the 
slanting orange of the sunrise, lo ! the entire corporation 
of the washerwomen of Ax settling their pounding-boards 
in the steam of the hot springs. Then I understood the 
faint cloudy blue colour which had troubled me in my 
bath the evening before, also a certain odour of washing 
day in the air, and a definite after desire to hang myself 
out on a line to dry. No wonder there are strong alkalies 
in the waters of Ax, or that Reckitt hangs cloudily in 
suspension in your basin, and tinges the very towel with 
a f-^int cerulean hue between your face and hands. 

Here is a cheap and certain road to fortune, for which 
there is no extra charge. Take a house next door to any 
laundry. Make an arrangement for a reversion of the 


suds, and advertise the Ax water-cure and its comple- 
mentary baths. I warrant that no expert will be able to 
tell the difference. 

But, to return, over these mountains and some few 
more, there lay Spain. On the route was to be found 
the wise cure of Hospitalet, and my carriage was at the 


door. I bade my landlady adieu. Her bill, at least, was 
for full season's prices. I waved my hand to the gay 
washerwomen, whom my camera never could resist, and 
without regret got me over the lip of the simmering washtub 
of Ax-les-Thermes as fast as three brass-bound horses 
would carry me — a matter of at least three miles an hour. 
Now I had been in Egypt in the first days of railways, 
when the famous arrangement about the '* classes " was 
new — first class, ride except when told to get out and 
walk — second class, push behind at the hills — third class, 
push all the way ! It was much the same thing to go by 
carriage over the Pass of Puymorens, where the road 



winds exactly like an apple-paring thrown over the shoulder 
of the engineer. By cutting across the loops you can 
always have half an hour to sit down on a stone and wait 


for your carriage. Then half a mile further on there is 
another isthmus to cross, and time for another cigarette. 

But by the way I chanced on the most picturesque of 
mills and the most affable of millers. At first he was 
about to set his dog on me, judging some- 
what hastily by appearances. For indeed I 
had not had time to remodel my clothes 
since sliding down Quillan mountain in haste 
to capture my camera. However, just as the miller was 

The Miller 



looking out of his mill window to summon the intelhgent 
animal, the good man observed my carriage and three 
horses crawling up the slope a mile or so below. 

" Ah," he cried, altering his intention, '* lie down, you 
brute — come in and see my mill. It is much admired ! " 

Now this shows the use of a carriage with three horses. 
For otherwise that miller's dog would certainly have been 
harassing my rear. And he was not a nice dog. He 
was particular as to his acquaintance, and always insisted 
upon an introduction. 

Well might the miller of Ueyrolles say that his mill was 
much admired. It was a perfect Chenonceaux of a mill. 
Water spouted from it, as it seemed, from chimney to foun- 
dation, the clear mountain water arching and glancing in 
the sun, making miniature cascades everywhere. 

" Most convenient," said the miller, " when one wants 
to take a little mouthful of absinthe. Apropos " 

And the miller proceeded to show himself very apropos 

All I could do in return was to take a picture of his mill, 
and offer him a lift up the hill as faras Hospitalet. Where- 
upon very willingly he turned off the water-power, and 
an entirely new Niagara flashed forth from a side lade. 

" 1 myself will take you up and introduce you to Mon- 
sieur the cure" he cried ; '* all the travellers go to his 
house. He is a very learned man, and besides a lover of 
good company ! " 

** Is he your priest ? " I asked, thinking there might be 
some purpose of private auricular confession, for it was 
nearing Easter. 

" No," said the miller ; " ours is a plain man, the son of 
a farmer over at La Tarasque. But I think he suits us all 
the better for that. We are a simple folk." 

When the carriage arrived our coachman also went in to 


view the mill while I held the horses. He came out wiping 
his mouth and smelling — apropos. 

" You see I have never before ridden behind three 
horses/' explained the miller, getting in beside me, "that 
is wh}' I am coming. That — and the pleasure of your 

Then he sat a long time meditating as we crawled up a 

"After all it is much the same as riding behind one 
horse," he said, at length, " only slower ! " 

But the miller of Deyrolles was a philosopher as well as 
a wit. He would not get out to walk up the hills. He 
would cross no isthmuses. 

" Walk !" he said ; '' no, excellent driver Jean, no ! I can 
walk any day". I will have to walk to-morrow when I go 
down to Deyrolles. So whip up your horses, my friend, 
and at least let us enter Hospitalet with some iclat^ 

This we did, with an eclat which must have brought at 
least ten people to their windows. Hospitalet is the 
striking off place of the bridle track for Andorra, and in all 
respects resembles a village among the Alps of Savoy. But 
the country inn at which we drew up was clean and hope- 
ful-looking, and on account of his knowledge of the local 
cookery the miller took on himself the ordering of the 

There was a fall of water near, singing its own praises 
in the sunshine, and making a picturesque splashing down 
the mountain side. I made straight for it, camera in hand. 
Even as I went I was aware of a giant of a man coming 
towards me with long strides. He was bareheaded, and 
with the tail of my eye I could see something white in his 
hand. I thought this must be some petty lord of the soil 
come to take me to task for trespass upon his meadows. 
But all the same I meant to have the picture first, 


1 1 

However, the man stood quietly behind me till I had 
finished. I could hear his breathing stop as I made my 
exposure — a 
jewel of a man ! 

Then all sud- 
denly a book 
was thrust be- 
fore me and a 
finger pointed 
out a place. 

"Will you be 
good enough to 
translate that 
sentence into 
French ? " said 
a voice. "I 
have only a 
grammar to 
help me with 
the English 
language ! " 

The Cure in 

I turned in 
the very act of 
changing a 
plate. Small wonder that I was astonished. A tall priest 
stood before me, bareheaded, unshaven, his rusty soutane 
half unbuttoned, but with the unmistakable air of a man 
of thought and reading. 

" Thank you," he said when I had, badly enough, 
accomplished my task. " I came across as soon as I saw 



** How did you know ? " I asked him, smiling. 

" That you were an Englishman ? " he laughed, chuckling 
to himself as if there could possibly be any doubt about 
the matter. 

" I saw you — I saw the waterfall, and I saw the black 
box ! ' Voila my affair ! ' I cried, and I brought out my 
three weeks' puzzle to have it solved ! " 

" But I am not English," I persisted. " I am of Scot- 
land ! " 

" It is the same thing ! " said the priest, dogmatically. 

"A large number of your kings did not think it at all 
the same thing ! " I retorted. Whereupon I expounded 
" the Auld Alliance." 

"Ah," he said, "Monsieur is a historian. Come in- 
stantly to my Presbytery. Apropos — I have some good 
wine ! " 

But I told him of the miller of Deyrolles, and of the 
lunch even now awaiting us. I invited him to join. 

" For the pleasure of your company ! " he said, bowing 
courteously; " but that I may do you honour, permit me 
to change my sontaneT 

Ah, why has not the Auld Alliance rubbed off some of 
these little graciousnesses of speech upon us rough tykes 
of the North ? 

We were a refreshfully democratic party as we sat us 
down — coachman Jean in his blue blouse, M. the ahhe in 
his Sunday soutane, the miller of Deyrolles, and myself 
We had a lamb dressed whole, the size of a good English 
hare, but deliciously cooked-r-salad, bread, and wine that 
smelled of the goat-skin, looked like Burgundy, and tasted 
as no wine of France does in these degenerate days. 

" Viva Espana!" I said, as I drank and winked at the 

" Ah," he said, sipping slowly, " it is indeed a sad sin 


to defraud the revenue. I often speak against it from the 
altar. Smuggling is a very mother of iniquities. But 
what would you ? This is doubtless good wine. And 
that — (he added, nodding sententiously) — covers a multi- 
tude of sins. Besides," he added, " there is no proof. I 
have seen Monsieur the Receiver himself drinking it. He 
only shrugged his shoulders as he drank ! But as to 
where it came from, I think that he also had no illusions ! " 

In a few minutes we were deep in the effects of the 
French revolution upon the nations of Europe, and then I 
had a new view of my coachman Jean. Hitherto he had 
proved himself merely dreamy, stolid, and not a little 

But at the cure'^s first sentence he looked up sharply. 
His eyes brightened. His head was thrown back. His 
nostrils dilated. Not otherwise does the war-horse scent 
the battle from afar. Jean was a controversialist — a born 
Jacobin. Progress was his watchword. In effect, as he 
said, America was his ideal. Ah, what a country ! What 
enterprise ! See here ! He lifted a can of preserved 
salmon from the table. Could they produce such things 
in any priest-ridden country ? And this — he lifted the 
mustard pot. Colman was the name imprinted thereon. 
Again America ! The word New York was upon the tin 
— subordinate indeed to London, but still there. I pointed 
out the mistake. Colman was peculiarly and even hotly 
English in the mouth. 

" It was," Jean continued, waving me aside, ** the same 
thing. You have no priests in England." 

" We have certain who call themselves so ! " I remarked, 
carefully impartial, 

" In Scotland ? I thought you were all Calvinists 
there ? " interjected the priest — his powerful voice, trained 
at the altar, forcing itself through Jean's shrill treble like 


the ram of a battleship crushing the iron skin of a torpedo- 

Then, in a language not my own, I expounded history 
for the second time — searching for fitting words, and occa- 
sionally finding them. To my surprise both the abb6 and 
the Jacobin found themselves in unison for once. 

" Why does a man call himself a priest when he is not a 
priest ? " said Jean, thumping his fist on the table. 

"When the day comes that your Calvinist ministers are 
reconciled with the Holy Church," cried the abb^, " they 
will be admitted simply upon profession. But the others " 
(how the thin nostrils blew out with scorn !) " they will 
have to do much penance for having called themselves 
priests without the true apostolic ordination. Ah, yes, 
penance long and sore must they do." 

The miller of Deyrolles listened to the three of us with 
infinite satisfaction. He nodded his head impartially 
when Jean or the priest made a hit — also when I found a 
good resounding word. He was specially enthusiastic 
when I got out my Bellows' Dictionary and looked up 
" incongruity." 

"Ah," he said, "what a valuable book! It tells you 
what to say. As for me 1 never know. But I can grind 
corn. You see there were no schools in the Cerdagne in 
my time. But my meal is good all the same, and I make all 
the money I need to live upon ! Therefore am I not as 
happy as if I knew six languages and could speak like a 
Deputy ? " 

Oh, most wise miller ! 

Next morning by six of the clock all was as it had never 
been. Our brave miller was upon his way back to 
Deyrolles — the abbe (let us hope) already in church at 
matins, or at least reading his breviary upon the way 


thither. As for Jean he sat on the box of my carriage, 
but he had relapsed into sullenness. Or he had a head- 
ache. Something had disagreed with him. I thought at 
the time that he and the miller were saying *^ apropos !^^ 
a little too often yestreen, especially as it wore towards the 
shank of the night. But as the green liquid was dripping 
through the sugar into their glasses at my expense, it was 
not my place to say them nay. Consequently this morn- 
ing Jean held sombre views of life. He would not rise 
even to a sneer at the "Social Contract." A Jesuit might 
have played with him. Almost he was a reactionary. At 
least, reaction of a sort was strong within him. 

All the same we jogged on over Puymorens into the 
Cerdagne, that green valley which smiles between the 
mountain ranges, half Spanish and half French. Yonder 
at last was Puycerda, the " Height of the Cerdagne," with 
the red and yellow ensign floating above its gateway. The 
good priest of Hospitalet had whispered to us that there 
was trouble on the border. No one was allowed to pass 
on any pretext. There had, it appeared, been mutual 
smuggling on an international scale. The French customs 
people were irritated with those of Spain, and the 
Spaniards crossed bayonets when any were delivered into 
their hands coming out of France. 

But I was no smuggler. I had my papers of identifica- 
tion — my passport properly visaed in London at the 
Spanish Embassy. I had nothing of contraband except, 
possibly, some insect powder — nothing really suspicious 
save half a dozen cakes of soap. 

Still I thought that it might be as well to turn aside before 
venturing the plain way into Spain, the way which lies 
over the bridge of Bourg Madame. If there was any 
friction it would be in that place. I would therefore take 
the by-path through Llivia. 



the Dirt of 


But what is this Llivia of the Welsh-appearing name ? 
Llivia is an anachronism — a little splash 
of red and yellow Spanish wax left on the 
fringe of the tricolour. For once the 
Spaniard had the best of it in his dealings 
with his formidable neighbour to the North. It happened 

some two hun- 
dred years ago, 
when the fron- 
tiers were being 
delimited and the 
treaties made. 
The Cerdagne 
was to be divided, 
partly by an ima- 
ginary line and 
partly by the 
streamlet which 
flashes through 
the beech copses 
beneath the cita- 
del of Puycerda. 
Thirty villages 
north of this line 
were to belong to 
France — and so 
at this present 
writing, twenty- 
nine of them do. 
But one, Llivia 
by name, chanced 
to be a "township," not a village, and so to this day 
it forms an "enclave," or piece of Spain shut in by 
French territory on every side, A neutral road, called the 




Chemin International, runs from Llivia to the little bridge 
which gives access to Spain. There is another Douane 
there — a post of carabineers on the Spanish side, and 
generally a man fishing on the French. The fisherman is 
the real danger. 

So driver Jean turned aside towards Llivia, and after 
we were well down the jolting by-road, a man came run- 
ning full tilt over a field towards us, calling upon us to 
stop. We laughed, waved hands, and pushed on light- 
heartedly. Afterwards, however, we had occasion to 
regret our precipitancy. However, we were safe in Spain, 
as we thought, none having hindered or made us afraid — 
except the man whom the three brass-bound horses, 
making their first spurt of the day, had left running 
wildly after us over the field. 

Llivia is by all 
and large the dir- 



""-""" WB/U^ 

n^^^^— n 

uv - 




tiest village I have 
ever seen. Cattle 

K- » ** ' 



pass in droves 




along the street, 
or stand medita- 
tively digestive in 
front of doors. I 
have never seen 




them sitting 


f " 



^^B SH 






sipping absinthe at the cafis ; but there is every sign, and 
-the testimony of all the five senses, that such is their habit. 

Yet there is a decent enough posada, lifted upon a 
terrace above the main street (or gutter). Within it, a 
pretty young wife, a lyrical baby, and a talkative military 
grandfather, who is ready to smoke your tobacco and 
abuse the people of Llivia — literally, till all was blue. 

The young wife prepared a meal while I exercised my 
fascinations upon the baby. Then, the small score settled, 
the horses were put in again and we went hopefully for- 
ward. Above all things I was anxious to lay my head in 
Spain that night. 

But, alas ! much was there to do before that should 
happen. As we neared the bridge at the end of the 
Chemin International, half a score of gendarmes appeared 
out of the bushes, and as many carabineers moved gravely 
into position upon the Spanish side. 

I was out in a moment and showing my papers. But it 
soon appeared that, all unwitting, I had sinned the un- 
pardonable sin. I had passed into Spain and out of 
France by a road which was not a legal right-of-way, a 
village road, a mere farm track — and so, in the most 
perfect innocence, I had become an outlaw. Neither 
country would have me at any price. I had been in Spain 
— that is, in Lliyia — therefore I could not return into 
France. Messieurs the gendarmes would see to that. I 
had never passed the customs examinations, therefore I 
could not be admitted into Spain, The ranked carabineers 
fixed bayonets to prevent me. 

I stood and argued — showed all my well-ordered papers 
for the twentieth time. It was in vain. I could go back 
to Llivia and wait there while the case was submitted to 
the two governments concerned. Or I could remain where 
I was, on the neutral ground of the Chemin International, 


apparently till I struck root and sprouted. Jean the 
Radical had nothing to suggest. He wanted only to be 
well quit of me and jog back again to Ax. Indeed, to tell 
the truth, he basely deserted me in the day of my adversity. 

" M. the cure oi Hospitalet told monsieur," he declared, 
" / told monsieur. But monsieur was obstinate — enteM — 
pig-headed. But what would you — by example, is he not 
an Englishman ? " 

And yet he had heard me explain my nationality only 
the night before with a wealth of historical detail ! 

It was at the black blank moment of my despair, when 

the officer oi gendarmes was on the point of sending me 

, _.^ back to Llivia under a guard, apparently 
I meet Bino .„ , , , • , 

till the government had time to make out 

my warrant for New Caledonia, that, quick as the god 

from the machine, appeared my saviour. We had been 

arguing upon the bank of the stream which courses 

gaily through poplar clumps, beech coppices, and pollard 

willows. I heard a shout, and springing up the bank 

through the young spring greenery I beheld a man, 

rather short than tall, rather slender than sturdy, but with 

the broad shoulders and lean flanks of endurance, with, in 

addition, a face that broke every rule of regularity yet was 

so overflowing with good humour and ready responsive 

wit, that the effect was irresistibly attractive. A small 

carefully waxed moustache and hair crisp and curling 

distinguished the new comer. He was dressed in dark 

grey coat and trousers, and, for a touch of colour, wore a 

red sash round his waist, drawn low over the hips. 

Never was a man so thoroughly abreast of the 

situation. He shouted questions in Catalan to the amazed 

Spaniards on their bank. He rebuked the sergeant of 

gendarmes in his native tongue for keeping a gentleman 

waiting on the highway. He entered into a give-and-take 


of repartee with Jean the socialist, in which that inter- 
mittent freethinker was conspicuously worsted. All the 
time he was employed in putting up his own fishing-rod. 
As soon as this was finished, he bade Jean get back on tht 
box and opened the door of the carriage for me. 

" Yes, we shall go back to Llivia," he cried, " and it 
will be the worse for somebody when Milor the English- 
man has finished writing to his friend the Minister of the 

As he clicked the carriage handle he whispered over the 
door, " I will make it all right. Do not fear. You shall 
lay your head in Spain when next you sleep." 

So back to Llivia we trundled, where I think our return 
was not wholly unexpected by the ancient military gentle- 
man in the Posada de Espafia. I saw something un- 
pleasantly like a twinkle of mirth light up his eye as he 
borrowed a cigarette and lit a match on a conveniently 
stretched part of his trousers. 

"And now," said my new friend, as we found ourselves 
once more alone over the green-eyed Pernod on the balcony, 
" 1 will introduce myself. I am called Julio Bino over 
yonder — a Navarrese. Yes, senor, but in the Ariege I am 
plain Jules Bineaud, and anywhere and everywhere I hate 
to see a stranger put upon in my own country. And 
every country on both sides of the Pyrenees is mine." 

" Are you then a Spaniard ? " I asked. 

Julio smiled, and shrugged his shoulders. 

"Yes and no," he said. "I am neither French nor 
Spanish. Yet I am both. I am, as I tell you, of Navarre, 
and you know that that country lies on both sides of the 
mountains, like a saddle laid across the Pyrenees. I am 
the man who rides on that saddle." 

" But surely you must be a citizen of one country or of 
the other?" 


" I am a citizen of both," he made answer, smiling. " I 
am on the reserve of both armies, yet all the time I 
have served with the colours is only six weeks. I can 
#ote for the deputy who pleases me in the Ariege, and 
yet give a voice for good Senor Cristobal when it pleases 
him to go up to Madrid to escape his wife's tongue." 

"And what is your own business ? " I asked next. 

He looked at me a moment very straight in the eye, as 
if gauging the amount of confidence which might safely 
be placed in me. Then he spoke in a pleasant voice, even 
and quiet : 

" I am of all trades — that do not involve doing the 
same thing over day after day. I am the best gardener 
in the world — for a month. For a month I have been an 
incomparable corn-miller. I can build a house, but not 
two — graft a vineyard if it is not too big, chop down a 
tree, work a saw-mill, cook anything that ever was cooked, 
find something to cook where there is nothing, climb 
mountains, carry a pack on my shoulders, lead a score of 
pretty fellows to — ahem ! — correct the inequalities of the 
revenue. There is no man native to these mountains, 
from Moncayo to the Cevennes, to whom I cannot pretend 
that I am his countryman, his paysan^ born in the same 
commune, confirmed by the same parish priest." 

"And what good does that do ? " I asked in my sim- 

" In effect, there are occasions," he replied, mysteriously 
shrugging his shoulder in the direction of my baggage, " I 
am not sure that this may not be one of them. When 
that old chatterer goes to bed (I regret that Bifio 
referred to our soldier of Solferino and the Malakoff) I 
will talk to the young husband. He has had a little diffi- 
culty with the carabineers which keeps him somewhat 
retired in the daytime. But Bifio can find him. Only for 


the present say nothing about our business to madame. 
She might possibly tell her father, and that were as good 
as giving it out from the altar." 

" But what are we to do ? " I said. " I wish to proceed 
into Spain at once — on to El Seo, if possible. I have no 
desire to go five hundred miles about by train, to stay in 
cities, to eat with the crowd at tables dliotc. Besides, I 
am not a gentleman of commerce ! " 

" I know — I know ! " Even as I was speaking, the 
quick Southern e3'e took fire. Electricity seemed to snap 
from Bifio's finger-ends and crackle in his excited voice. 
" I knew it as soon as I set eyes on monsieur. ' Here is 
one after my own heart,' I said ; ' he has a small bag, all 
for use. He looks about and takes notes of the beautiful, 
the characteristic — aye, even while these long eared ones 
are braying at him. Behold his little gun, his vista glass, 
his chambre noire. He travels to see, to record, to write. 
There is his pen sticking out of his pocket. I will go with 
him — I, Julio Bifio, the Navarrese. I will company with 
him for love, so long as he wants me. For I also have 
the mind of the wanderer, of him that must all the time 
be seeing new things, beautiful things ! ' So, Senor, 
here I am ! " 

Still I was not a little puzzled, and my face showed it. 

"Ah," continued my new friend, anxiously, "do not 
misunderstand. I am no beggar. I do not think of 
money. I have a house and vineyard yonder in the 
Ariege — another behind the mountains. But I will come 
with monsieur for love alone." 

" But," I answered doubtfully, " I cannot permit any- 
thing of the kind. If you accompany me I shall require 
you to take a wage for each day — each week ! " 

" That I understand also," said Biho ; " but let us not 
speak of it now. Wait till you see whether or no I satisfy 


you, and then we can settle all these matters. I am not 
such a fool as to think that my services are worth nothing. 
But — I will leave it to monsieur to say how much." 

He moved his hand slightly and sipped his absinthe 
with a cock of the eye towards the door, which informed 
me that the " military chatterer," as he called our host, was 
immediately behind it. In this fashion I became acquainted 
with Bino, who through the years has remained protector 
and mentor, servant and friend — ever careful, faithful, 
ready-witted, daring, humorous, self-effacing, as ready to 
acknowledge a fault as to make a virtue of success, in all 
things typically meridional in temperament — a little boast- 
ful, more than a little vain, doing everything with an air, 
as if before a gallery and for the gage of ladies' favours. 

Now it becomes necessary from this point to warn the 
reader that (except in the case of the larger towns) I shall 
use names both for men and places other than the real. 
For these people, of whom I shall have to tell, are still 
alive and busy with their affairs — which very often are the 
affairs of certain Government officials as well. Now, 
though I owe the officials on both sides of the frontier not 
a few kindnesses, yet on the whole the balance falls the 
other way, and I have certainly no desire that any words 
of mine should bring difficulties upon men whose only 
fault is, that their interpretation of fiscal laws differs from 
that of the State functionaries — chiefly, moreover, in the 
personal matter of more or fewer pesetas in the official 
breeches' pockets. 

But to this matter I shall have to return. For my 
acquaintance among smugglers is rather large, and on the 
whole they are as honest people as I have come in contact 
with in the Peninsula — or anywhere else. 

It was about ten o'clock at night when Bino came into 
the little chamber in which I had been lying down on the 


bed fully dressed. He had with him a tall young man, in 
figure lithe as an eel, and of a countenance habitually 
grave. This was Little Stephen, so called to distinguish 
him from his father, who had once been Big Stephen, but 
could now have been tucked comfortably away under his 
son's arm. 

Bino and Little Stephen turned my equipment over 
article by article, laying aside some for future transport, 
and stowing away the rest in a couple of brown Pyreneean 
"riick-sacks," much battered by the rains. I offered to 
share the burden, but was told rather succinctly that if I 
followed them that night without carrying more than my 
own weight, I should do very well. And in this I was not long 
in discovering a truth and justice simply incontrovertible. 

Then with the lamp set on the floor outside the half- 
open door, so as to throw a faint light upward on the 
ceiling, we three sat and made a hasty meal. The girl- 
wife smiled as she set the dishes before us. She was 
only seventeen, but she had already two children of her 
own, and was evidently very much at home in all the 
detail of smuggling as practised on the frontier. Such a 
package, however, as a six-foot Englishman, with all his 
impedimenta, had never been "handled" from that Llivian 

Finally Biho asked her what she was smiling at, and 
she said, " I was thinking of the Senor on the Col of 
Bellver ! " Which showed that the young woman had 
either been " out " along with her husband, or had a very 
pretty gift of second-sight. For, if any one had been 
there to see, the Senor did indeed furnish a humorous 
enough sight upon the Col of Bellver in the small hours 
of the following morning. 

I had expected (and dreaded) a rope ladder as a neces- 
sary adjunct for getting away from Llivia. But instead 



we turned peaceably out into the night, and the door 
closed behind us. Only we did not depart by the main 
street, but turned to the left under gloomy arches, past 

pens that smelt 
more convinc- 
ingly of goat, 
passing about 
the church 
through the 
lych-gate, and 
breaking our 
shins as we did 
so over the 
tombs of de- 
parted smug- 
glers, who had 
perished on just 
such expedi- 
tions as ours. 

Over the 

Deep peace 
dwelt on Llivia 
— as deep upon 


upon the 
churchyard, disturbed only by the scraping of my English 
boots upon the most intolerable, shaly, clinkery, unneces- 
sarily melodious hillside it has ever been my evil fate 
to scramble over. Presently we came to a standstill 
at the edge of a little patch of cultivation — colza, as I 
judged by the faint mustardy glow underfoot. 


" This will never do," Bino whispered. " Sit down, 
Senor ! " 

I had thought it strange that the feet of my companions 
made no sound, while I waked the echoes with the clat- 
tering of a cavalry division. But I could feel the Man of 
Many Countries busy with my foot-gear. 

" Surely," I thought, " he is never going to take off my 
boots and let me walk barefooted over these razor edges." 

But in a moment he had pulled a pair of alpargatas (or 
canvas shoes with soles of woven cord) upon my feet, and 
I stood up with a curious feeling of walking in my sleep. 
Now I was as silent as the others. The alpargatas clung 
to the slipperiest rock and made no noise on the loosest 
shale. Bino stowed away my boots somewhere about his 
pack, and I fell in afresh between the tall young man and 
my companion. We kept along the ridges high in air. 
Far beneath I could hear the brawl of the frontier stream 
in which I had first seen Bino fishing. 

At the bridge-end, where I had been stopped earlier in the 
day, we could see a flicker of light dancing uncertainly on 
a patch of grey-white road, and a little nearer the silhouette 
of a dark figure that marched steadily to and fro. The 
light from the guard-hut flashed on the sentry's sword- 
bayonet as he changed his musket from one shoulder to 
the other. 

I could hear Bifio chuckling behind me. 

" They are on the look out for you," he whispered, 
pointing with his hand ; " they will wait long ! Ah, a long 
time ! We are in France now," he continued ; " that is 
the bell of Ur church striking midnight. Go forward 
quickly, Little Stephen ! " 

We descended a steep and slippery slope of grass, saw 
dimly the white houses of a village high on the green 
Alps to our left, and got our alpargatas sopping wet in 


certain little streams which we kept fording every minute. 
Indeed, the whole hillside was alive with the bicker of 
running water. It was merry to hear in the night. They 
say Ur is the ancient name for " waters " — which, indeed, 
I can well believe, for this Ur is a place of a multitude of 

Down, down we went, the lush meadow grasses swishing 
long and dewy about our feet. Little Stephen stepped 
over a bush and set foot upon a bullock, which " routed " 
with surprise, and then made off with a clumsy rush in the 
direction of the little river. In a moment Bino's hand was 
on my shoulder and I could see that Little Stephen had 
instantly dropped on all fours. I imitated my companions. 
It was like playing at Covenanters-and-Persecutors among 
the Galloway moss-hags. I was glad to find I was not 
yet too old for the game. 

" Civil guards ! " he whispered. And from the depths 
of a willow, on whose rough hollow trunk I lay prone as 
Alexander Peden on Corriedow, I could see two motion- 
less figures sitting their horses on the opposite bank. 
They conferred together, presumably as to what had 
caused the bullock to break its rest with such cumbrous 

" If this were not France they would fire across on the 
chance of making us run," murmured Bino ; "as it is, 
they will go down and stir up the French picket to come 
after us." 

It fell out so. The two civil guards (I became acquainted 
with them later, not in the way of business) turned their 
horses and rode slowly down the glen in the direction of 
the French posts. 

Little Stephen put his hand back and touched me softly. 

" Now," he said, " hold your watch in your mouth — 
everything else that will spoil in your hat ! " 



And then, with a gait which I could not imitate, ap- 
parently running on all fours, he sped off down the steep 
side of the stream. In another moment I felt the water 
pushing cool about my legs. Bino took one hand, Little 
Stephen the other. The current was strong, for there had 
been a spate somewhere among the mountains away 
towards Porta. Mid-leg, waist-deep, breast-deep, the 
chill crept up, till I thought the thing had gone quite far 
enough. Then all at once I became aware of Little 
Stephen above me, dripping water on my head from a 
ledge. A pull, a push, and the two of us were beside him. 
The men gave their leathern bags a shake, felt for the tie 
knot of their alpargatas that they might not stumble over 
it, and then all three of us set stout faces to the stey brae. 
It was indeed steep though happily short, and presently 
we were out again on the plain lands of the Spanish 

I cannot fit words to my remembrance of the speed 
at which we crossed this half-English belt of country. 
Ditches, hedges, stone walls, clumps of trees, we halted 
not a moment for any of these. When a house appeared 
we gave its clamorous dogs a wide berth — otherwise we 
kept straight for the opposite range of high mountains. 
There was a chillish wind blowing, clear and tingling. 
Nevertheless the pace kept us warm. So fanning was the 
wind that by the time we had reached the pines on the 
foothills and smelt the rare odour of the juniper berries I 
was quite dry. 

Then came some rough, ugly work on slippery ground 
like a railway embankment which the navvies are still 
piling, or, more exactly, like the moraine of a " shrinking " 
glacier. My alpargatas got filled with stones, small like 
shot, and for the moment I missed my boots very much. 
But at the top of this tahs we came on the first belt of 


pines, some of them with little more than their tops show- 
ing above the unstable surface. They had been snowed, 
or rather sanded, under. 

Here Little Stephen threw himself down with an 
" OufF! " of intense satisfaction. 

" Premier e'tage ! One story up ! " said Bifio, casting 
down his bag and scooping a comfortable lair for himself 
in the sand with a convenient outlier of his body. 

I had been under the impression that we were already at 
the top, but I made no remark. My desire 

for a more interesting entrance into the land 

of smugglers than by the cars of the Penin- 
sular Express was assuredly not to be disappointed. 

Here we rested a quarter of an hour and ate some 
bread and olives, washing the meagre fare down with a 
draught of wine smelling of resin and the tan of the goat- 
skin — which, however, warmed the way it went with a 
vigour begotten of having been previously well-laced with 

" Drink," said Little Stephen ; " it will make you long- 
winded. It comes from Cabrera's country, even from 
Vinaroz near to Tortosa." 

And apparently he was right. For whereas hitherto I 
had gone with difficulty, now I trod on air. I acquired 
the clearsighted elation of a man who has got his " eye in " 
at golf. We mounted through the pines, up and up, 
keeping mostly on the crests of the ravines so as to escape 
the falling stones, which began to go whisking past our 
heads in a most suggestive manner. Then all abruptly 
the pines ceased, and above us, flecked and streaked with 
unmelted snow, hung a wonderfully serrated and bastioned 
range of peaks. So imminent they were that I thought 
they must surely fall on our heads. 

" Second story — and only the mansarde above ! " said 


Bino, cheerily propping himself against a wall of rock, 
which aflforded some shelter from the steady chill push of 
a wind that seemed to hit us as if we were naked, so freely 
did it pass through our garments. 

How the rest of the night went by I hardly know. The 
black frowning ridge above somehow melted mysteriously 
away as we approached. We slid into a gorge which cut 
windingly through it. The bottom and sides of this trench 
were sleeked with fallen snow, coarse as rock-salt and 
crunching loudly under the feet. Then again down we 
went, striking this way and that through an intimate 
tangle of ravines, gullies, cols, breakneck paths, and 
slippery screes, such as I would have supposed no single 
man to possess the secret of. But Little Stephen went 
forward readily and easily in the dark, like a man ascend- 
ing his own staircase to bed, while from behind Bino 
assisted him with occasional comment and advice. 

It was in the small hours of the morning, bandied 
between my companions, that I first heard a name which 
was to become exceedingly familiar. I will call the place 
they spoke of " San Severino," for though that was not 
the appellative of the real patron saint of the dwelling, it 
contains the same number of letters. 

"At what time shall we reach San Severino ?" inquired 

** For me," said Little Stephen, " I shall come with you 
only to the goat-herd's hut at the foot of Bellpuig. I 
must be back at Llivia by daybreak, or at least, over the 
fords of Ur. But once upon Bellpuig you can find the 
way for yourselves I " 

" Easily enough," said Bino readily. And the two ran 
over local directions and indications — how the way went 
" past this stone, then by the white rock to the left of the 
crest, down the left bank of the arroyo — and be sure to 


whistle three times and receive an answer before 
advancing. You remember what happened to Grammunt's 
Francisco ? " 

I did not ask what happened to Grammunt's Francis — 
probably a couple of rifle bullets did the whistling 
which Francis had omitted. The frontiersmen of the 
Pyrenees do not allow any second deal in cases of 
mistake. If the aim is good, the loser pays for his 

It was a delicate task to remunerate Little Stephen 
when he bade us " good-bye," with an assurance that the 
rest of my baggage would follow me in a day or two. 

" If you love strange things you will not be in a hurry 
to leave San Severino, Senor," he said, putting my hand 
aside — " no, no money. But if when you return to your 
own country, you will send me some English service 
cartridges for my little gun here (he produced an officer's 
revolver of good London make), that will repay me tenfold 
for a trip which has been a pleasure in itself." 

He slipped the bag from his shoulders, and Bino did it 
carefully about me so that its weight would fall in the 
right spot. 

" Now I will go fast," he said. *' God go with you, 
gentlemen both ! " 

And go fast he did — so fast that he was out of sight in 
a moment. Bino watched him, whistling low to himself. 
Then he nodded his head and said, " Yes, he will go fast. 
There is no one in all the hills, from Canigou to the 
Atlantic, who can go so quickly as Little Stephen. Pity 
he cannot lead a party ! His head is not so strong as his 
legs. But for a guide, and to do as he is bid — ah ! I 
would rather have Little Stephen with me than any dozen 
— always excepting certain of those good gospellers whom 
we shall meet at San Severino down there." 



" And pray what is San Severino, and whom shall we 

meet there ? " 

" San Severino is an old monastery," he answered, 

" only nowadays they are somewhat strange monks who 

dwell within the abbey walls. 
It was a Carlist headquar- 
ters during the war, and 
indeed, to tell the truth, it 
is little else yet. The govern- 
ment gendarmes and Guar- 
dias Civiles give it a wide 
berth, of else approach it 
humbly. Nevertheless there 


are few folk so honest as Manuel Sebastian and his family, 
or whom I would rather have on my side when it comes 
to the quick pull on the trigger of fate." 

We stood up, and the ruck-sack felt unexpectedly light. 
But I did not know how heavy it would weigh ere I 
entered the gate of San Severino with the morning light. 


The convent, when at last we glimpsed it, stood im- 
mediately under the crest of a great wave of mountain 
ridge, which curled over it as if about to fall momently, 
yet three hundred years had gone by without bringing to 
the ground so much as one pinnacle of the stubborn lime- 
stone. Grey, battered, bleak, the very tiles of the roof 
bleached hay-colour by the winter storms, the towers of 
the monastery stood up on its flat plateau, stern and 
square as if cut from the native rock. I was strangely 
mistaken if a shrouded bottle-shaped mass in the corner 
done up in tarpaulin, did not represent a cannon. Every 
detail of the architecture was perfectly clear, for we stood 
not three hundred yards from the twenty-foot wall which 
surrounded the farm-monastery on all sides. 

Bino whistled thrice, without, however, exposing himself. 
Then, after a pause of listening, three times again. This 
time there came an answer back — two whistles and then 

" That is for us to show ourselves," he said. 

We came out and stood clear on the ridge, outlined 
against the sky. 

'* That is to give them time to examine us through the 
glass — they have a very powerful one," he murmured. 
" I myself brought it from Toulouse ! Ah, they will not 
be long — they know Bino. There, I thought so ! " 

The gate was opened, and three or four tall men came 
forth, shutting the fastenings carefully behind them. 

" Now," said Bino, with increasing excitement, "we will 
go down and shake the hands of the bravest men in all 
Spain — aye, or France either. And I that speak to you 
am a Frenchman born, though a mongrel by adoption." 

We went down a well-beaten path, and as we drew 
near Bino whispered that it would perhaps be better if he 
went on ahead and explained my presence. The Sebastians 


were naturally somewhat careful about those whom they 
admitted to their intimacy. 

" But do not fear, my word will be sufficient. That, 
and the fact that you have had a difficulty with the officials, 
will ensure your welcome." 

So on a table of rock I sat down and thought what 

The a little way into Spain does the hand of the 

Evangelists law reach. Bino conferred apart with the 

of San guardians of San Severino, and then after 

Severino a pause he and they came towards me. 

" Senor," said Bino, saluting me first and then bowing 
to the four men, " permit me to introduce to you the four 
evangelists of San Severino — Don Matthew, Don Mark, 
Don Luke, and Don John." 

The four men uncovered and bowed profoundly, as 
indeed I did myself. Then the eldest of them took me by 
the hand, and said, ** Senor, I bid you welcome to San 
Severino in the name of our father, who awaits you 

We were silent as we went towards the gate — I, because 
languages come slowly back to me, and only after the ear 
has been attuned for a while to their use. 

Even Bino, moreover, seemed a little impressed. The 
grey boundary wall rising bare and high out of the savage 
wilderness of rock and juniper, without an ear of corn or 
sign of cultivation anywhere, was curiously impressive. 
All the interior buildings were hidden behind it, and we 
seemed to be prisoners advancing under escort into some 
fortress prison of monkish tyranny. 

The four Sebastian evangelists stood back for us to pass 
in. We entered, not by the great gateway, which I never 
saw unbarred all the time of my sojourn in San Severino, 
but by a little port of grey unpainted wood, studded with 
great bolts of iron. As soon as we were within the 


enclosure bars were shot as in a prison, and I looked 
about me in astonishment. 

On all sides extended ranges of buildings — the closeness 
of the windows one to the other, and the unmistakable 
" barracks " look revealing the monastic purpose for 
which they had been intended. Through a gate into a 
second enclosure we caught a glimpse of a stable yard 
and many cattle pulling fodder out of openwork racks. 
Meanwhile the door at the top of the main staircase was 
opened, and there waiting to welcome us, stood one of the 
noblest figures I have seen — an old man tall and spare, 
but erect and of a military carriage. White hair fell 
gracefully upon his shoulders, curling a little outwards at 
the ends. He wore snowy unstarched linen at the neck 
and sleeves — the ancient Aragonese costume — black velvet 
knee-breeches, white sash, and an open shell jacket with 
many small gold bullets for buttons. 

" Senor," said Bino, with a wave of his hand in intro- 
duction, "you are in the presence of Don Manuel 
Sebastian ! " 

The old man took me by the hand and said, " I bid you 
welcome ! All that is in my house is yours ! " 

We walked down a long stone-flagged passage with 
ranges of doors opening to one side and glassless loop- 
holes at regular intervals all along the outer wall. Then, 
quite unexpectedly, my host drew aside a heavy string 
curtain and ushered me into an apartment which to my 
eyes, accustomed to the small cottage rooms of the Ariege 
and the French border-lands, seemed nothing less than 
immense. The roof rose, lofty as that of a church. The 
rafters, where I could see them, were black with age. 
Doubtless it had been the kitchen of the monastery, and 
was now the general meeting-place of the family of San 


Here and there peasant women in short Aragonese 
kirtles were busy about an immense fireplace. But the 
many tiny fires were of charcoal, and the cooking on the 
primitive casserole plan, so that the room was no more than 
comfortably warm. Two girls, dressed simply in black, 
and evidently belonging to the Sebastian family, vanished 
discreetly behind another curtain as we entered. 

Everything was characterised by an antique simplicity 
eminently pastoral. Manuel Sebastian insisted that I 

_ , should sit in his own great chair as the place 


_ of honour. As soon as he found that my 

Simplicity r ^ . . , , , 

toot gear was sopping with the snows he 

ordered one of his sons to bring a basin of water, and 

despatched a maid for dry hose and alpargatas. 

Upon the return of his youngest son, the chief of the 
house-servants, an old woman, infinitely wrinkled, and yet 
with a curious antiquated kindliness looking out of her 
eyes, knelt down before me, and to my exceeding discom- 
fort began to remove my wet socks. All the time she kept 
saying something in dialect, but save from the smiles of 
those about I could not guess at her meaning. 

Seeing my difficulty Don Manuel came over and ex- 
plained, " She is the foster-mother of all these ; " he pointed 
to his sons, " also of my daughters within there, and she 
says it is her right to wash the feet of men. She has 
suckled many, and all her own are dead ! " 

By this time a long table had been laid, and while Don 
Manuel held me in talk — of England, of Don Carlos, 
and of the future prospects of " the cause," with the tail of 
my eye I could see one of the daughters of the house enter 
and give some directions to the women. She was tall, 
clad in deep black, but her face had a strange drawn 
whiteness, and her eyes a lustrous sadness such as I have 
rarely beheld on any countenance. I watched what Bino 


would do upon her entrance. He was standing among 
the evangehst brothers, and it seemed to me that as their 
sister entered they stood more closely about him as if to 
prevent any gpeeting. I resolved therefore, for my own 
part, to wait events. 

There was so much of Oriental and Biblical about the 
family that it might well be that they had a certain Arab 
convention with regard to the seclusion of their women. 

So I sat and watched Don Manuel, wondering at the 
air of high simplicity which set his bold features so well, 
and which ever and anon kept haunting me with a resem- 
blance, a resemblance annoying in proportion to the diffi- 
culty of fixing it. It was most puzzling when he spoke 
Castilian, slow, clear, and oratorical. When he dropped 
into rapid colloquial French the resemblance seemed to 
disappear. It was not till he threw back his head in order 
to shout an order in Catalan to a herdsman who looked in 
for a moment, that I had it. 

Don Manuel was a Spanish Gladstone ! There was the 
same spare frame, though altogether larger and more 
bony ; the same imperious eye, black and piercing ; the 
eagle's beak, which might have been cruel but was only 
determined. And in imperative speech or quick reproach 
both had the leonine back-throw of the head which fixed 
the resemblance. Afterwards I found other points of 
likeness. Don Manuel was a Gladstone who had been all 
his life a fighter with his hands, all his life a leader with 
his head; who had lived on Pyreneean mountain tops as 
unchallenged in authority as David in his hold in Engedi ; 
who had never changed his opinions ; who began and 
ended where Mr. Gladstone had only begun — " the hope 
of the stern unbending Tories " from Guipuzcoa even to 

Presently, while we still talked, the younger of the two 


girls in black entered with a tray, which she set down at 
Don Manuel's right hand. Still no introduction was made. 
Our host simpiy poured out small glasses of some deli- 
cately scented liqueur, one of which he presented first to 
me as the greater stranger, and afierwards another to 

It was home-confected cherry brandy, much finer than 
anything sold under that name in commerce, being dis 
tilled at the monastery and flavoured with wild aromatic 
plants from the sierras. The old woman, who had insisted 
on washing my feet, remembered the days before 1835 
and the dispersal of the monks. She it was who had 
guarded the recipe and still superintended its annual 

At eleven Don Manuel looked about him sharply, as a 
gilded eight-day clock, shaped like an hour-glass, chimed 
the hour. He nodded to a herdsman lounging on one of 
the locker benches which ran round the sides of the 
kitchen. The man rose, threw down the striped woollen 
plaid he had been wearing round his neck, laid his hands 
on a rope which dangled beside the wall, and instantly the 
clang of a great bell resounded from high above. Don 
Manuel smiled at my wonder, as the sound swelled and 
reverberated from the hill crests about. 

" It is San Martin, the old convent bell," he said. 
" Often and often as a boy I have heard it call to matins 
and vespers in the old days — often after that to sterner 
business. But now we use it as a dinner-bell. We are 
degenerate folk and have fallen on poor heartless times, 
but we must do the best we can." 

Then in came a score of rough-clad men one after the 
other, each bowing with the instinctive grace of the 
Spaniard to the head of the house, to me the guest, and to 
the daughters of the family. 


All took their places at table in silence. The upper end 
of the board was laid with a white cloth, coarse but spot- 
lessly clean. The rest was bare wood, but scoured almost 
as white. The girls came and stood opposite us, in the 
places reserved for them at Don Manuel's right hand. 
The house-father held up his hand. All followed his 
example, and in a kind of chant the words rolled out : 
" In the name of God the Father, of Christ His Son, of 
our blessed Lady Mary of the Immaculate Conception, 
and of our sovereign the Lord Carlos, King of Spain. 

It was at once a benediction and an oath, every morn- 
ing renewed, of fidelity to the things which were for ever 

In that sudden clamour of sound there was something 
Gothic, barbaric, primeval. Not otherwise shouted the 
warriors who raised Pelayo on their shields. With such a 
crying burst Cid Campeador and his war-lords on the 
turbaned men. Old days when men were stormily sure 
of things and held them once for all, spoke to me in that 
cry, which indeed stirred the pulses like blown trumpets. 
Then in another moment all at the lower end of the table 
were seated. Only Manuel stood still, and at last with a 
graceful gesture made the delayed introductions. 

" My daughter Isidra and the little maid, our house- 
babe, Carmen, whom among ourselves we call Chica ! " 

The younger laughed and called out, "Chica, indeed — 
I would have you know I am not so very Httle, but that 
once on a time you were less ! " 

At which her evangelist brothers laughed, and the 
nearest pinched her cheek saying, " Little and foolish — 
so it was ever with our babe ! " 

But the elder daughter, Isidra, moved no muscle, nor 
could I see that she bowed ever so slightly in reply to 


our salutations. At which, having proved the high-bred 
courtesy of the family, I wondered much. 

The repast was plenteous, and saving some difference 
in the wine on my account, the same for gentle and simple 
— soup of lentils, trout with a sauce of white wine, a frag- 
rant olla, delicious brown bread, and the rich red Spanish 
wine. A dish of olives stood ready to hand, fresh from 
the brine, and from one end of the table to the other the 
goatskin gurgled incessantly. There was in the wine 
which I drank a resinous twang, not unlike the flavour of 
Greek vintages, but with nothing unpleasant about it. 

When the meal was over there was no stated dis- 
missal, or anything like the ceremonious beginning. Each 
herdsman and labourer rose when he had finished, made 
his bow to Don Emmanuel at the table-head, and went 
about his affairs. 

Dona Isidra never once raised her eyes. The lashes 
which lay on her pallid cheek were of an astonishing 
length and blackness. But she said no word, and hardly 
ate or drank. Babe Chica (the " Little One "), on the 
other hand, chattered incessantly, continually breaking off 
into Basque or Catalan in order to achieve her phrases. 
For on that borderland of tongues every word is current 
coin, and half the inhabitants are not conscious which 
language they are talking. 

But Don Manuel was quick to check his younger 
daughter, bidding her to speak either French or Castilian. 
At which she thrust out her lips in a little pout, saying, 
" French I speak like a Spanish cow, and as for Castilian, 
that is the language of the black Alfonsists ! " 

" It is the duty of good children to speak that which is 
understood of the stranger within their father's gates ! " 
said Don Manuel sententiously. 

Whereat the girl pouted still more, and for a while was 



silent. She was about fifteen or sixteen, and had long 
been conscious of her position as spoilt child in a family 
of men. 

With regard to her sister I could make no guess as to 
her age, but she was clearly much older than Carmen. 

When the cigarettes were lighted I sauntered into the 
open air, anxious to see the outside surroundings of this 
curious home. Passing out by the herdsmen's door, quite 
unexpectedly I found myself in a court of beaten earth, 
strewn with juniper branches and rough heath — straw 
being evidently too precious a commodity to be used as 
litter so high among the mountains. 

I strolled on through a well-tended garden, with flowers 
and pot-herbs growing in alternate beds. Something 
white attracted my eye at the end of an avenue of dark 
yews. I stepped quietly along, conscious of a kind of 
solemnity in the shade of that gloomy vista. Presently I 
saw on either hand niches and inscriptions. By the wall 
and beneath the trees broken tombs and headless statues 
of recumbent abbots lay piled. I had stumbled upon the 
burial-place of the ancient abbey of San Severino. 

I stood musing, dreaming of all that these once great 
men had seen and done in their day, and thinking how 
long it would be before our best modern reputations and 
high magnificences were cast down, shattered, and for- 
gotten, even as they. There was eternity in the thought. 

Then all at once there came to me the sense that I was 
not alone. I turned and saw Dona Isidra sitting on a low 
wall, her head bowed under her dark mantilla. She was 
weeping very bitterly — so lost in grief indeed that she 
neither saw nor heard. 



As I saw it then, the little graveyard of the ancient abbey 
of San Severino lay flooded with sunlight, dreaming in the 
mellow afternoon languor. But just under 
the shadow of the cloister wall there was 
still one last blue swathe of coolness. For 
the high airs of the central chain visited it on their way 
across to the Canigou, and, in particular, stirred the yellow 
lily heads which were ranked thickly about one grave, 
with a faint continuous rustling. Beside it sat Dona Isidra. 

My instinct was to withdraw softly, but the motion 
of the girl's hands stopped me. She stretched them out 
over the low grassy mound with a little pathetic movement, 
at once wistful and unconscious, which I had never seen 
except in the dying or those in the grasp of mortal weak- 
ness. I ought to have gone away ; yet, somehow, I could 
not choose but look. 

She murmured something in a caressing tone, of which 
I could only distinguish the words, " Speak to me ! " The 
girl was making an appeal to some one unseen — present, 
indeed, to her mind, and perhaps also to her eyesight, but 
to every one besides laid to rest under that green sod. 


I turned, and was moving away on tiptoe. But even as 
I did so, Don Manuel appeared from the abbey chapel by 
some door which I had not noticed, and, going up to his 
daughter, he touched her with infinite gentleness on the 
shoulder. I think I have never seen so rapt a face as she 
raised to his. It was like that of an angel on a rood- 
screen, shining all over with fulfilled and heavenly desire. 

" He has spoken — he has answered ! " she said, nodding 
joyously to her father. And, what made the look of 
happiness on the girl's worn face more remarkable — the 
tears were still running freely down her thin cheeks. 
They fell upon her father's hand, and he let them bide 
there. I slipped quietly away ; but as I went I could hear 
him coaxing the girl to return to her chamber out of the 
heat of the sun. 

" Yes, I can go now," she said, laughing a little ; " he 
has not forgotten Isidra ! " 

I was busily employed in examining some of the broken 
sculptures in the cloisters when they came out hand in 
hand. A devil with his head split from crown to ear 
grinned at them, or perhaps gleefully at my sudden pre- 
occupation. His trumpet-shaped nose had once on a day 
been the spout of a gargoyle, and the monks (or the 
elements) had wasted much detail upon his expression. 

I affected not to observe the pair, and, drawing out my 
note-book, made bold to sketch the complicated leer of the 
mutilated demon. But, as soon as she saw me. Dona 
Isidra left her father's hand, and running across the grass 
she touched my arm, saying, " He also did that ! You are 
his countryman. Perhaps you knew my Don Richard 
Vincent, you English stranger ? " 

" No, no, my daughter," said Don Manuel, following 
her with the gentlest expostulation. "It was all so long 


" Long ago ! " cried the girl, flashing out at him almost 
angrily. "Why, he has just spoken to me! There — 
where the lilies are yellow ! " 

She pointed back to the entrance to the graveyard with 
one hand, grasping my arm meantime with the other. 
" Come with me and you shall hear for yourself," she 
said ; " come, Englishman ! He will not speak before 
him " (pointing to her father) " because he never liked my 
Don Richard. Ah — stand back from me — off, off! You 
are not my father ! Had it not been for you, he — him- 
self — might have been standing beside me in the dear 
warm flesh, instead of lying yonder — dead ! Yes, dead ! 
And cold ! " 

Then it was pitiful to see the stern old man trying to 
take her hand with soft murmurs of deprecation, like one 
who pleads with a sick child. 

" Come," she said, without taking any notice of him, 
but still smiling at me and laying her thin fingers on my 
sleeve; "come, I bid you. He will talk to you, I am 
sure. He speaks most in the morning, very early, when 
the mists are on the hills ! And, when he is most pleased 
with me — when I am happy and content to go on waiting 
and waiting, then, ah then, he will speak to me at any 
hour of the day. But it is not often like that. For I fret 
— I weary — I am not good. And then he is silent. He 
will not speak. He is angry with his Isidra ! " 

I looked up at Don Manuel, and through the bitter pain 
on the old man's face I could see him signal to me. 
"Yes," the sign said, "go with her — do not cross her." 

So I went with the woman whom God had stricken, I 
knew not why. Her father followed heavily after, his 
haggard face bent upon the ground. But she stopped him 
imperiously at the gate, setting her palm almost fiercely to 
his breast. 


" No farther," she said, " stand back there. Once already 
have you sent him away. That is enough of ill to do for 
one day, surely — man that was my father ! " 

We walked across a space of turf, dazzlingly green 
in the sunshine. In the midst, the girl gave a little 
cry, and running, she flung herself down on the raised 
grass of the tomb. Her hands were clasped in an 

" He is pleased with me to-day," she said in a low even 
strained voice, like one who fears to wake a patient sick 
unto death ; " he called even before I came near. It is 
because he has something to say in his own tongue — 
something that I cannot understand — though, indeed, he 
began to teach me English. Yes " (she turned quick as 
some feline creature to me), " / can spikk Engliss. I lova 
you wita my heart, Deek, mine Deek ! " 

She laughed merrily and clapped her hands at her own 
success, and my astonishment. Then she spoke again in 
her own tongue. 

" I have not forgotten — no, Isidra has not forgotten one 
word he ever said. But his own language ! He loves 
that ! Listen — I bid you ! " 

And, pulling me down to my knees, she signed that I 
too must hearken, watching me all the time with the most 
pathetic anxiety in her face. 

"Is it not so?" she repeated. "He speaks — it is his 
own language. ' I love Isidra^ he says — so much I under- 
stand — what is the rest ? " 

And with the tail of my eye I could see Don Manuel 
signalling to me from the doorway which he dared not 

"You hear his voice?" she repeated anxiously, all her 
soul in her words. I nodded. Then an air of infinite 
relief came over her face. "And they say it is fantasy — 



that no one can hear him but Isidra ! Carmen sometimes, 
to please me, pretends she hears, but then when I ask her 
what he says, she cannot tell me. Perhaps because he 
speaks English when she comes near. But you hear — 
you understand ! You are of his nation. What does 
' Dick mine ' say ? " 

" He says, ' I love Isidra ! ' " I answered. 

She nodded gaily. " I know — I know — but the rest ? 
Quick, tell me the rest." 

" ' I shall love Isidra for ever! ' That is what he says," 
I continued. And I do not think I lied. 

She cast one searching, wistful glance up at my face, 
and then rising, clasped her hands as she had done upon 

"Yes, yes," she murmured; "that is what he always 
used to tell me at first ! But afterwards he says other 
things. Listen, he is speaking again ! " 

But I heard only the rustle of the hill wind among the 

daffodils. I had no interpretation. The girl turned to 

me again. Twenty years seemed taken 

from her age. She looked over her shoulder 

T^ rr ,., to see if Don Manuel were within hear- 
Daffodils ... , , ,,. J 

ing distance, and then, pulling me down 

to listen, she began to speak in my ear, hastily and 


"You think it strange that he whispers, but that is 
because he wishes to be heard only by those he loves — 
those who trust him. They do not believe — these ! " 

With a large backward gesture of contempt she took in 
the buildings of San Severino and all their inhabitants. 

" Why should they ? " she continued, laying her hand 
on her breast. " They have living hearts beating here — 
not dead and dull ones like mine and his. Their god is 
their belly. They mind earthly things — and speak them 


out loud. But the dead speak in whispers — for if they 
spoke out loud, so that all could hear, the world would 
never sleep again. You sleep seldom, they tell me, and 
then not for long. I heard Bifio tell my father so — I 
mean Don Manuel Sebastian. I never sleep at all ! That 
is why I can hear * Dick mine ' so well." 

With another quick change of mood she sat down and 
pulled a piece of embroidery out of her pocket. 

" Ivy leaves, you see," she said; "you can guess why. 
He used to bring me one every time he came, to wear in 
my hair. It is the English custom. You see they do not 
fade like flowers or change with the seasons. 'They wear 
like my love for you,' he said, and he spoke truth. So I 
have planted them beside his grave, and they do not 
change. The lilies alter, but not they. So when I need 
company I bring my work, and we sit and gossip like two 
friends — he under, and I above. That is sweet, is it not — 
when death itself does not alter love ? Is it always so in 
your country ? " 

But I had no words to answer her with. 

"They think I am mad," she went on, smiling. " He 
thinks so — Don Manuel — they all think so. This is 
because they are afraid of the dead. They are afraid to 
die. Thrice blessed Maria, if they but knew ! Life, not 
Death, is the thing to be feared. To have to go on living 
when all the time you pray for death ! Why should I 
be afraid of 'Dick mine' now, when I loved him so much 
alive — before — that — happened — which — happened ? " 

The last words were spoken slow and distinct, like the 
tolling of a passing bell. 

All the while I was in mortal fear lest she should ask 
me to tell her more of what I heard the rustling heads of 
the lilies say to me. But speedily she relieved my mind. 


The deadly grief of her soul vanished as frost from a 
window pane when the fires are lighted within. There 
came a happy look into her eye. She nodded brightly up 
at me. 

" Now you can leave us," she said. " I fear I have 
wasted overmuch of your time. Besides (here she smiled), 
we that are old lovers have many things — sweet things — to 
say between ourselves. You understand ! " 

She leaned towards the lilies clustering on the grave, 
and in a confidential, everyday tone, she added, " He is 
going soon, Dick mine ! " 

In answer, the daffodil blooms rustled, perhaps not 
wholly in irony, because she at least understsood them. 
They spoke to her. I turned and went my way. As I 
lifted my Basque cap I saw her drawing the black mantilla 
closer about her, like one who with loving solicitude has 
been bidden to wrap herself well from the wind's shrewd- 
ness. And I doubted not that she had once more heard 
and obeyed the Voice. 

At the porch, retired into a little recess, Don Manuel 
was waiting for me. His fine, large-featured, forth- 
looking face appeared drawn and well-nigh desperate. 
The pain ot his soul had marked it deep. Upon the 
instant I resolved what I must do. I must get out of San 
Severino as fast as I could. A stranger should not inter- 
meddle with the grief of such a household. For there is 
no sorrow like that, when a beloved object turns without 
cause against its own. And here, for aught I knew, there 
might be cause enough. 

To my surprise it was Don Manuel who began to speak 
of that which had taken place within the cemetery. His 
mood, his very manner, were altered from those of the 
dignified patriarch of the house. He spoke hastily — 


almost, as it were, in deprecation of any harsh judgment 
on my part. 

" 1 thank you, sir," he said, ** for your forbearance in 
thus humouring the "delusion of my unhappy daughter. 
Heretic or not, what you do to help her will be reckoned 
to you for righteousness. Of that make no doubt. Since 
you have thus, by no fault of your own, or of mine, been 
brought into our sorrow, I judge it necessary that you 
should know the truth." 

" Don Manuel," I said eagerly, " I beg that you will not 
feel compelled to tell me anything whatever. I will imme- 
diately take my departure. I am a wanderer, and I can 
only hope that you will forgive my unintentional intrusion, 
and in the meantime accept a thousand thanks for your 
most gracious hospitalities." 

*• 111 merited are your thanks as yet," said the old man, 
" but I beg that you will continue to accept the poor cheer 
which San Severino can offer in these degenerate days. It 
is but little that Manuel Sebastian can do for his guest 
now. But I tell you plainly, if Isidra, my daughter, is of 
the mind to give vent to her troubles by talking with you 
— by speaking of the man whose love has brought her 
thus low — it may be the happiest day that hath dawned — 
not only for her brethren in the hall, but for me, her father, 
who now pleads with you, being ashamed to ask so much 
from a stranger." 

Thus talking, we passed out of the gate of the monas- 
tery, our feet following a well-trodden path through a dell 
where the wild thyme scented every yard with its fra- 
grance, mingling with the blown resin-tang of the pine 
needles on either side. In a little while the path began to 
mount steeply, then it turned sharply round a pinnacle of 
rock, and lo ! beneath us lay stretched out a long pass, 
almost a defile, cleft through th? heart of the mountains 


towards Andorra, the snow-capped summits of the Eastern 
Pyrenees, and the triple crest of the Canigou guarding it 
on either side. 

Mechanically Don Manuel sat down ; and then rising 
hastily again he offered me the seat on the smooth slab of 
stone, which, as I perceived from scratchings upon it and 
the hard-trodden look of the earth all about, had long 
served as a look-out post. But I declined, and threw 
myself at length on the dense elastic carpet of aromatic 
juniper, benty fescue grass, and darnel, which lifted me up 
off the ground as on a mattress of woven wire. 

Don Manuel drew out his book of Alcoy papers, and 
rolled himself a cigarette with the easy precision of an 
automaton. He was evidently thinking deeply all the 
while, and I took care not to interrupt him, but lay to all 
appearance absorbed in the magnificent prospect of half 
the snow summits in the Pyrenees stretched out before 
my eyes. With the lifetime habitude of a Spaniard, the 
old man inhaled his loosely rolled cigarette in half a 
dozen long whiffs, and then exhaled them slowly as he 

*' This was the beginning of our sorrow," he said, look- 
ing away into the distance through the haze of smoke 
which surrounded him. *' In the last 

Z^,^, °Z , ^ years of the war, when Carlos, our king, 
Oldest Tale u . j u u- 4.1 ■ 

was once more betrayed by his own, this 

our Isidra, my daughter, was merry and young even 

as is Carmen, her sister, this day. But, to these old eyes 

at least, far more beautiful than Carmen (a good girl, mind 

you, and a golden) will ever claim to be. And many were 

they who thought so. 

" A busy place was San Severino in those days. Aye, a 

King sat where you sit to-day, in the chief guest's place, 

nor would he permit me, his servant, to serve him. I must 


sit at meat with him in the master's seat, and entertain him 
as a host. Yet princes of the blood of Bourbon and Conde 
stood behind his chair. 

" But our Isidra cared for none of these, neither for 
King nor princes. Scarcely would she wave her hand to 
them. For we of the north are not as the men of the south, 
who shut up their women-folk like brooding pullets. Only, 
be it said, the maid had four brothers and a father. There 
was no fear. 

** Nor was there — from without. But I had forgotten 
that a woman's heart is ahvays taken from within. There 
dwells a traitor who unbars the door and lets in the foe — 
which thing not fathers nor many brethren standing about 
can prevent. 

" And so it was with Isidra. 

" For when the days were full, came an Englishman, 
one Richard Vincent, young, good to look upon, bold too, 
standing in fear of nothing. In those days of peace all 
the world that was young and gallant came to Spain for a 
sight of war, and some few also for the sake of striking a 
blow upon the weaker side. But of these were not many 
Englishmen. For ye are not of the Religion — you English. 
And (what we count the deadly sin !) you have shed the 
blood of your anointed Kings — even of that very Charles 
who, they say, came here a-courting to Spain. 

** But somehow, from the first time I set an eye upon 
Richard Vincent, I mistrusted him. He had no care for 
our blessed Religion — nor, indeed, for any other. He 
never looked inside a church unless he had seen a pretty 
woman go in before him. And when he met a priest, he 
would take the other side of the way. Oh, yes, we who 
are fighting for the King and Holy Religion, know by these 
signs our true friends. But at the time I thought no more 
than that he was, like many another, enamoured of the 


clanking of spurs and the clash of battle — knowing too 
that he would think quite other of it after his first green 

" He was of excellent family, this Englishman, and 
came with recommendations from the highest quarters. 
He was ready with his tongue, too, and with his pen — had 
been in Spanish America and spoke our Castilian with the 
South American accent — but, as all now know, to the 
best purpose for himself 

" The King himself took a fancy to the young man, 
and, as his custom was, made him on the spot one of his 
favourite councillors. Was there ever yet a Spanish 
prince who took counsel from his own, but always with 
the alien ? Yet if the Bourbons had not the good old 
Spanish vices, the sins royal of kings, mayhap we would 
not have died for them so readily. 

" So it chanced that while Don Carlos abode at San 
Severino, and Don Jaime of Parma came daily from the 
camps, going to and fro, this Don Richard Vincent, the 
Englishman, used our house as his own, and (what none 
had ever done before) cast the glamour of love upon the 
young maid Isidra." 

As he said these words the old man crushed a spray of 
feathery juniper between his strong fingers till the parched 
spines were small like snuff". Then he scattered the dust 
to the winds. 

" Ah," he continued, stolidly and without heat, " where- 
fore did God not give me insight, that I might have ground 
him to powder — thus ! " 

Don Manuel thought a while, and I began to fear that 
he did not mean to tell me any more. 

" But to give the dog his due," he went on at last — 
hastily, like one who has won a victory over himself, " in 
love the Englishman was true — yes, steel true, and I blame 


not any woman for thinking so. Only toward men and 
to the salt he ate, was he false. 

" Briefly, it came to this. There was a leakage some- 
where of the secrets of the King. His plans were being 
betrayed to his enemies. Did we make a march — lo ! we 
were forestalled, and the troops fell into an ambush. We 
would have suffered more — only these Alfonsist fools had 
not the knowledge how to hide themselves, nor even the 
poor courage to fall on when they trapped us. Easily we 
slipped through the net meshes. But our friends were 
apprehended by the Frenchmen on the other side of the 
mountains. Our convoys of ammunition were captured 
in the passes. Our ablest smugglers were waylaid. Our 
guns fell into the hands of an enemy so crass, that we 
knew well he could never have found them out for himself. 
And all this befell not once, nor twice — no, nor a hundred 

" Till one day the King, and he who was far wiser than 
the King, even Don Jaime of Parma, the King's brother- 
in-law, came to me to take my counsel. 

** * It is among your own folk that the matter lies,' I 
said, * among these incomers who are more to you than 
any score of faithful subjects. The traitor is one of them ! 
Go find him for yourselves ! * 

** * Then,' said Don Jaime, ' let us watch those who go 
out from us with despatches — to General Elio at Jaca, and 
to the army before Bilbao. For since no more than one 
in six of our messengers ever returns, and but one in three 
ever delivers his despatches, it is possible that some, mis- 
taking the camp, may deliver them instead to the Alfonsist 

"And that was a thing very well thought on by Don 
Jaime ! Now it chanced that I was watching down by the 
fords of the Llobregat, in Francoli, a dangerous country. 


wherein are many enemies of the King. And I watched 
long and carefully, for the despatches to Tortosa were at 
that time very grave and in their folds held many men's 

** And one morning very early, lying out on the shoulder 
of the hill where it slopes down to Poblet, I marked one 
that had been a follower of our camp. He walked furtively, 
and ever as he went he twisted his neck to see behind 
him. So I knew the man, and summoned him to stop. 
But at the first sound of my voice he ran. For the fear of 
guilt was on him. Now I was lying prone, with my rifle 
sighted upon a rock a hundred yards ahead of him, which 
I knew he must needs pass. And so as he went by, the 
bullet overtook him and he fell. 

**But the despatches which were found upon him were 
written in the handwriting of Richard Vincent, the 
Englishman, and in his language ! There was the list of 
our forces, their dispositions, together with the plans 
which had been decided upon only the night before in the 
King's tent. And that which of itself would prove whether 
the Englishman was a traitor or no — an appointment had 
been made for that very night within the ruins of Poblet 
with an Alfonsist officer. Now with a Spaniard, such a 
writing in a man's own style and rubication, would have 
proved that man's innocence. For at such a time no man 
of sense would sign a letter to his own mother, save with 
a name agreed upon and that not his own — by no means 
his own. But with the English — one cannot tell what 
they will do. Now in this one thing I was unlucky. The 
messenger being dead, there was none from whom to 
demand explanation. For the bullet had passed between 
the man's shoulder blades, and after that had splashed 
upon the rock, as indeed I knew it would. For I had 
tried the distance twice that afternoon before — knowing 


that if any man came that way he must perforce brush his 
shoulder against that rock. 

" For in those days there was small time for question- 
ing. If, being called upon, a man did not instantly throw 
himself face downward in the dust, a bullet went through 


him on the word. So it was with this camp follower 
— a worthless fellow he was too, a Murcian — Baza his 

"And so that night we watched within the ruin which 
thirty years before the Reds had made of beautiful Poblet, 
'my eldest son Matthew and I, Manuel Sebastian. You 
know Poblet — yes ? Well, then we lay behind the great 
retablo, looking out through the broken porch into the 
court, where the roses blow all the summer long, and also 
along the dark arcades where the monks walked in their 



generations, clad in white, each with four quarterings 
proven upon his shield on the refectory wall. 

" But that was long past, and Matthew^ and I lay silent, 
with the lizards creeping cold and furtive over us, so still 
we were. Our rifle barrels and sword bayonets were well 
rubbed with grease and soot that they might not shine. 
For we were very near to the trysting-place, and in all the 
open spaces the moon shone like day. 

" Half an hour from midnight there entered an officer 
in the blouse of a labourer. From the direction of Mont- 
blanch he came, where the Alfonsist army lay. But we 
knew by the setting of his shoulders, the drilled look, who 
and what he was. And, besides, we could see his braided 
gold collar glint under his blue linen. Then after waiting 
an hour for him there came another, proud, without disguise, 
even as I had seen him at the assaulting of Pamplona. 
And when the moonlight shone on his face — lo ! it was 
our Englishman, the favourite of the King Don Carlos, our 
sometime guest of San Severino. 

"And at the moment I heard Matthew stirring by my 

shoulder. I knew that he was about to shoot. Also that 

if he shot, he would slay. For, next to a matter of wom.en, 

the betrayal of secrets makes men mad. So 

I whispered to him, * Hold, take the other, 

_ the Alfonsist ! For he might escape on trial, 

being in uniform and not within our lines. 

But the Englishman shall die in any case. Therefore let us 

capture him alive. There are many secrets underhis boina! ' 

" So, having shot the Alfonsist dead almost at point- 
blank range, we sprang upon the Englishman, and, if 
we had not clubbed- him in the first surprise with the 
butts of our rifles, the two of us together would scarce 
have been able to take him. For, indeed, he fought like 
the Four Sons of Aymon ! 


" But at the end of five minutes we held him, thong-tied 
hand and foot, and at our mercy. Then I set myself to 
question him before we slew him. Nor did he deny. Only 
he asked for time to settle his affairs before he died. But 
concerning the certainty of his death he questioned not, 
well knowing. 

'* Then we put it to him why he had come among us to 
betray us. And he smiled and said, * It was an order. 
It was necessary for some one to go. How could I com- 
mand another to do that which I dared not do myself? ' 

" After some while he asked a question which set me 

" * And what, pray you, sirs,' he said, * is your own 
practice ? Don Carlos hath (or rather had, for I found 
out most of their names,) spies in the camp of the Nation- 
alists. It is a necessity in all wars — the highest game to 
play, and — the greatest risks for the loser. Well, I have 
lost. Fear not but that I will pay my reckoning. Deliver 
me to Don Carlos, that I may die. But first, as ye have 
in you the hearts of men, let me go for a day, that I may 
do justly by the woman who loves me. Don Manuel, I am 
trysted to be wed to-morrow ! ' 

" Then Matthew cried out with a laugh, ' A likely thing 
that we should let you go ! You have deceived us too 
long. You shall die here and now. What security have 
we that we would ever set eyes again upon you ? ' 

" Quoth this Don Richard, * You have only my word 
and the honour of an Englishman ! ' And with that he 
turned to me and said, ' You, Don Manuel, know that I 
speak truth. If I say that I will be in this place the day 
after to-morrow at this time, you will find me here ready 
to pay the penalty. For myself I do not ask the reprieve, 
but for a woman. Even now I have a priest engaged to 
marry us, and it will lie on your two souls through eternity 


if, through you, I keep not my word to the woman who 
trusted me. Let it be your own case, Don Manuel. If 
this thing were to do — if you yourself were the man — 
would not you ask so much grace, that the sin of treachery 
might not blast your soul through all eternity ? " 

" * Yes,' I answered, * I would ask ! " 

** * And having passed your word, would you not return 
— even if it were to death ? " 

" ' If I once passed my word I would return ! * " 

" * Then can you not believe it of another ? ' he cried : 
* are you the only true man whose word is dearer to him 
than his life ? ' 

" So as a man I trusted Don Richard, though I knew 
him for a traitor and a spy, and bade Matthew unloose him. 

"The Englishman rose, shook himself, and said, *I 
thank you, Senor. Your confidence shall not be violated. 
I will be at your service by this hour the day after to- 
morrow, if there is any reliance to be placed in horseflesh. 
See to it that you have enough officers to constitute a 
court-martial, and a good file of marksmen to give me a 
soldier's send-off! It will not take you long. I have 
played for my life and lost it. But for the grace you 
have done me, I promise that you, Don Manuel, ^Jiall have 
cause to be thankful all your days ! ' 

" And so with a wave of his hand he was gone, looking, 
I admit it, very gallant in the moonlight — a man to take 
any woman's fancy. 

** So, leaving me alone at Poblet, Matthew started out for 
Monistrol, where there was a camp of our Carlistas, to 
bring back the officers for the court-martial. Also I wished 
to send in the despatches which we captured. For that 
we two should shoot the man, though a traitor, to my mind 
savoured over-much of murder. 



" Now Matthew, being young and knowing not the 
deep things that sway the hearts of men — even of evil 
men (and this man was far from being evil) — looked never 
to see him again. But being old, I knew better. 

" So, Matthew having departed and Poblet growing very 
silent, save for the jackdaws among the pinnacles and the 
great cabra wasps booming about from crevice to crevice, 
I had much time to bethink me. I thought of the young 
Englishman and of the woman he had gone to marry. To 
wed and ihen to leave her ! To return here to die a 
traitor's death ! Surely it had been belter to die once 
and be done with it. Yet I could conceive of honour 
which bound him to keep his word — to stake all on the 
one final favour which we had permitted to him. 

" Would he come back ? Almost I hoped that he would 
not. The King's service ? Well, that was a great matter, 
certainly — yet for once it seemed a thing less than this 
traitor's life. 

" * Why,' I said to myself, ' should I make of a woman a 
wife one day and a widow the next ? ' 

"And had it been possible I would even then have re- 
called Matthew, but by this time he was far on his road to 
Monistrol. Invention had gone from me. I could think 
of nothing to save the man's life during those hours I spent 
in the silence of the ruins. None came near me all that 
day, and but for the dead Alfonsist officer in the vault by 
the chapel gateway (to the right hand as you enter) I might 
have believed it all a dream. 

" I thought of the Englishman standing side by side 
with his bride — the priest facing them. I thought of the 
girl (some man's daughter) looking up with trusting face. 
I thought of the parting — the farewell kiss — the first to 
the wife new-made — the last also ! 

"' Some man's daughter' — I repeated the words over 


to myself-^^ome mother's child.' Or perhaps Hke my 
own — motherless. Which led me to think of Isidra ; and 
I gave thanks to Mary the Blessed Mother, that, circled by 
her brethren and abiding in the home, she would grow up 
free and heart-whole, careless of men, till the day when, 
with her father's blessing and her brothers' approval, she 
should wed the man given her for her mate. 

" As the hours went on I grew more and more resolved 
that I would stop the Englishman, free him from his oath, 
and bid him go his way in peace. Why should his blood 
be on my hands ? His treachery to the King was dis- 
covered. Well, then, he could do no more harm. And 
as for the example, what was that to a maid- wife mourning 
alone for a dead bridegroom ? 

" So in this access of weakness a sudden fear came upon 
me that Matthew would return sooner than had been 
agreed upon. I therefore stole down the avenue in the 
deepest shadow of it, past the broken 
statues of the martyrs and confessors, and _P ^ ^ 
so went skulking northward till I came to a 
little hill — the one that overlooks the Espluga, where, 
among the thorns and prickly pears, I ensconced me. Here 
I waited closely hidden, for, being of the mountains, I knew 
well how to conceal myself from mere men of the plains. 

" First there passed me two priests, a young and an 
old, walking sedately so long as any were in sight, but 
anon glancing over the shoulder and spying none, laughing 
aloud and clapping each other on the back, very jovial 
about something. One threw a book he had been reading 
into the air and caught it again. Which I judged not 
seemly in a priest. 

"Then came by a herdsman driving a bunch of cattle. 
Out of the archway underneath the aqueduct they came 



suddenly, as 
from the mouth 
of a cavern. 
From the Httle 
Espluga hill I 
could see very 
far, and even in 
the moonlight I 
thought that I 
should be able 
to distinguish 
Matthew and 
his Carlistas, as 
well as the En- 
glishman riding 
alone to take his 
deserts accord- 
ing to his word. 
"And I, 
Manuel Sebas- 
tian, that am a true Carlist, and have bled for the cause 
in three wars, I prayed that he might not come. Aye, 
shame to me, I promised gifts to our Lady of Montserrat 
if she would aid him to escape the penalty of his treachery. 
For I said, 'Surely if every one of us were dealt with 
according to his sins, who in all Spain would be left to 
fight either for true King or black pretender ? ' 

" I had tasted no meat for twenty hours, yet I felt no 
hunger. I was so set on saving this man's life. Yea — 
though I myself should then be a traitor. For the thought 
of the woman late wedded lay heavy on my heart. 

** From noon to gloaming I swept the countryside with 
my eyes till they ached with the glare, and almost refused 
their work. 



" Once away beyond Espluga I heard a noise, a sound 
as of many guns going off in the distance, and the crying 
of men fighting and encouraging each the other. But I 
thought Httle enough of that, for Espluga is ever a tur- 
bulent town, and the folk of it take to their knives 
and muskets as naturally as priests pouch their altar 

" So in the declining day — a ruddy orange haze settling 
slowly in a pool in the west, in the midst the sun egg- 

*. 1 j 








B, ' 

■ ■ m 























shaped and red as blood, halving, quartering, and then 
winking out — I lay among the prickly Moorish figs and 
waited. And with my long fast, together with the silence, 
I might easily have fallen asleep. But, being where I was, 
each time I drowsed and fell forward the cactus prickles 
waked me. Then I remembered that I was there with 
purpose to be untrue to the only anointed King and to 
the cause thrice-fought for. And for what ? All that I 
might save an English traitor's life. 

** But again I bethought me of the woman by this time 
a happy wife, and my heart melted within me. For the 
old and those who have suffered much are kinder to the 
young than the young are to each other.. 


" Long time I waited, till the orange lights grew grey 
and the twilight brought out the bats fluttering and 
swooping, while the night-jar cried harshly as it hawked 
here and there for the long-beaked porcelana moth-birds 
which come only in the gloaming. 

" Yet the plain, as far as I could see it, lay deserted, 
pallid as an ash heap under the moon. Down there in 
Espluga at my feet, the noise sank, and the lights of the 
supper fires flickered red at the open doors. 

" The moon, rising high in the heavens, brightened 
from lead to polished silver, and all the plain of Fran- 
coli grew pearl-grey with mist. So in the pale chill 
of the light, filtered as through frosted glass, I lay rest- 
lessly chewing thistle fluffs and the sour-sweet cactus 
figs, the after-taste of which cloys the mouth even to 

" But neither did Matthew's cavalcade arrive across the 
steep sierra from Monistrol, nor yet the single horseman 
appear out of the north to keep his word and receive his 
doom. Then came a strange sense of disappointment 
over me. I feared that the Englishman had not spoken 
the truth — that, as my son had said, he had been twice a 
traitor, I was in a strait betwixt two, and knew not what 
to think. I wanted him not to die, yet I wished he would 
come to prove his faith to his word. 

" But the moon rose higher, growing at the same time 
smaller and clearer. And still the plain lay empty 
beneath me. 

" But at the hour after the midnight I saw the soldiers 
coming, and among them they carried one or two wounded. 
But I saw nothing of Matthew. So, fearing for my son, 
and being convinced that the Englishman would not return, 
I betook me quickly back to Poblet. 

" It was one Ezkerra, a Basque, who met me in the 





i__^^^_^^j|^Vj^^^ ■t;' 
















gate, very angry that the traitor had been let go free. 
' And see you/ he cried, ' that which your 
weakness hath done to you and to the 
cause. As we returned, passing by 
Martorelli, betwixt that and the Alfonsist camp at 
Montblanch, there fell on us an ambush, doubtless set by 
your traitor Englishman. And had it not been for one, a 
good Carlist and a brave soldier, who is now with us 
wounded, we had all been slain. He was travelling our 
way and helped us to beat off the brigands. But as it is, 
Matthew, your son, fell at the first fire, and if he be not 
dead, he remains a prisoner in the hands of the enemy.' 

"Then there came upon me deep anger and sorrow for 
what in my weakness I had brought on our house. 

" ' God do so to me and more,' I cried, * if I spill not 
the blood of this double traitor — for the life of my son ! ' 

" Then this Colonel Ezkerra the Basque took me aside 
and said, * Fear not, we will have him yet. Even if he 



gain the camp of the Alfonsists, still — God is gracious — 
there are good men with sharp knives that will reach a 
spy there. The like has been done aforetime. For 

treachery is 
an ill trade. 
It prospers 
not for many 
days toge- 

"Also Ez- 
kerra said, 
taking me by 
the arm, 
'They will 
not slay your 
son — even if 
he be taken. 
Therelare too 
many host- 
ages of theirs 
in our hands. 
It is not as in ' 
the first war, 
when no 
quarter was 
given. The 


wagged some- 
way since then ! So, leave you Don Matthew in the hand 
of God, and come and look to the two wounded Garrigas 
of Puymorens, and to the brave man who succoured us. 
They have sore need of your skill.' 

" So I went in, and in the cloister arches they were laid 
a-row. The red morning was spueing up out of the east 



when I got the bullet out of the shoulder of Juan Garriga 
of Puymorens, a miller with the meal-dust yet in the 
crinkles of his broad countenance. He had fainted with 
the pain, but Ezkerra threw water upon him, as I lifted 
the now useless lantern and blew out the candle. I passed 
to the next straw couch. But he who lay beside him was 
past all aid of man. He was shot through the lungs, and 
had not long to live. The first level streak of sunshine 
that came through an eastern wicket fell upon his face. 

" // ivas the Englishman, Richard Vincent. 

" And when he saw me he smiled and spoke haltingly 
— as those speak who, instead of air, breathe their own 

" ' I am — a — little — late, Don Manuel,' he gasped, still, 
however, smiling ; ' but the delay was none of my fault. 
There will be no court-martial. Certain brigand country- 
men of yours have saved you much trouble. But a dozen 
bullets from a firing-party could not have done the busi- 
ness more sufficiently.' 

"Then for a time I could not speak. For this marvel 
almost came between me and my reason. 

"'Then he said again, 'Once — you — granted me — a 
prayer. Do this also for me, Don Manuel. Carry me 
out so that I may not die within walls ! ' 

" So we carried him out, the Basque colonel bearing up 
his feet and I his head. And when we laid him down he 
held out his hand and said these words : ' Farewell ! God 
go with you, my father. Kiss my wife, Isidra — little 
Isidra, to whom I kept my promise ! ' 

"And so, still smiling at my astonishment, the English- 
man died — my son, the husband of my daughter. And 
'fore God, when I saw him lying cold, traitor though he 
was, I had rather it had been Matthew, whose whistle you 
hear upon tlie hill yonder. For my daughter had wedded 


a strong n^n of his word, though a heretic thrice con- 
demned. iXe Son of Mary of Sorrows give his soul ease 
from his sins ! Such shall not dwell for ever remote from 
God's grace, whatever the priests may say ! " 

Then light as a snowflake that settles on a dyke, ready 
to be blown further upon the least waft of air, Dona 
Isidra stole upon us. 

" I heard, my father," she said, looking upon him with 
love such as she had not shown before. " It is as I thought 
— as I knew. One day you would do him 
justice — poor ' Dick mine.' There was none 
so true — none so faithful. That which he ~. 

said he did, though he died for it. My 
father gives thanks for his son- — loves him more than the 
sons born of his flesh ! Ah, these are good words for 
Isidra to hear — late in the speaking, but good — good ! 
Now I will love you once again, my father ! " 

And with the light of a new happiness in her ej'es, she 
threw herself impulsively on Don Manuel's neck. 

Again I judged that it might be well to leave them alone, 
but Dona Isidra would not let me go. 

"You have brought me two things," she said; "my 
father's good words, and also that he should speak to me 
so long and so lovingly to-day — longer than ever before ! " 

" And now go, my father," she continued after a pause. 
" I will tell the Englishman the thing which befell me — as 
one cannot tell it even to a father. For he is of his people. 
He has heard ' Dick mine ' speak in his own tongue — aye, 
and interpreted to me the very words he used to say ! " 

Without a murmur Don Manuel rose and went up the 
path, his face greatly lightened of its pain. 

"Ah," said Dona Isidra, smiling with the far-away, 
half-shy, half-covert look of those whom God hath touched, 


"you recline on the rough hill-carpet just as he did — to a 
marvel. We of the country — we sit or we stand, but you 
Englishmen cast yourselves down caring nought at all for 
dignity and very little for snakes. All that is good to see 
once more — very good. But I must hasten. I have much 
to tell — things that others not of his race may not hear. 
May I speak French with you ? Then the herdsmen will 
not understand, if one should chance to come this way. 

" My brothers call Don Richard, my husband, a traitor. 
But men who are traitors deal not with women as he dealt 
with me. They hold not their plighted word at the cost 
of their lives. Also in what he did, Don Richard was 
within his duty. From the beginning he was of the army 
of General Prim — his father a friend of the Dictator's. 
They had met in England, and Don Richard came with 
the Count of Reus to Spain. After a time it became 
necessary to find out the strength and the intentions of the 
enemy. So he went. Who indeed but he could have 
ventured ? The Carlistas would conceal nothing from 
an Englishman, so rich, ignorant, careless, debonair ! 
Who was to know (what I knew) that his mother was 
of Spanish blood and his father an officer in De Lacy's 
English Legion ? That was in the first war. 

" Well, he came amongst us. He spoke to me as others 
spoke, but without flattery. And to begin with I an- 
swered him like the others, scornfully and lightly, even 
as Carmen my sister speaks to-day, who is but a child. 
So was I a child. But from the first I knew when his 
eyes were on mine — aye, even when I was not looking, I 

" And I — I watched for him as he rode out by the King. 
I loved to see them together — these two kings of mine. 
And once when Don Jaime of Parma spake apart with me, 
after the foolish manner of the Italians (I thought that he 


spake kindly, being but a child), Don Richard was very 
angry. And like an Englishman he would have stricken 
Don Jaime with his fist on the spot, which would have 
been death to smite the King's brother. Little Don 
Richard cared. And Don Jaime, though he was a prince, 
cried out that the Englishman was right, and asked my 
pardon courteously, for I knew not what. Scorn or slight 
I felt none — understood none — being (as I say) but a 

" But after that Don Richard chid me sharply, saying 
that I was to bide by my father or my brethren. 

" And when I cast it up to him how, in that case, he 
had no right to speak to me, he answered only, * If I had 
my way, pretty Isidra, I would be more to you than father 
and many brethren ! ' 

" So with these words he left me. And I pondered 
long upon them. 

" Thus it was, as I think, that I first began to think 
about Don Richard. And, as it were, in spite of myself, 
my heart began to go out to him — little by little, but 
surely. For he never made love to me with night singings 
and honeyed words as the manner of our country is — 
but ever in that English earnest, of which I at least 
proved the power. For, as he well knew, he walked each 
day with death as with a familiar friend, not knowing the 
hour when discovery might come upon him. Therefore 
he husbanded his time, and spoke straight words, such 
as women love. 

"Then one day as he went out to battle, he told me 
that he loved me — plainly he told me, and that he might 
never come back. Whereat I cried, and he comforted me. 
And in the comforting a new thing was born in my heart 
— this love of mine that shall never die. 

"Up under the pines it was I used to meet him; in a 


place where I had played as a child. The night was 
falling when he came to find me — ever with some excuse 
of despatches, some royal message for my father, both un- 
feigned (for indeed he had his own way in all things with 
our Carlos). 

"Then I would steal down, a mantilla over my head, 
_ slipping through the side door of which my 

P , r father had given me the key, that I might 

Roses P^^^ ^^ '^"^ ^^° between my chamber and 
m}' little rose garden. 

"Ah, Senor, there are things that one cannot tell in 
words. But those who know, know. And those who 
know not, would never understand. 

"And now though he is dead and only comes to me in 
whisperings, and though I cannot feel his arms about me 
any more, I am not all sorr-y. I have loved and been 
loved again. What more holds the life of any woman ? " 

She seemed to lose herself in reverie. I did not inter- 
rupt with any word of mine. I wished the current of her 
thought to run clear. When she spoke again it was in a 
lighter vein. 

"Ah, that first night he taught me English," she sighed 
the words. " It comes to me clear as out of a burning 
mist. Have I forgotten? Has Isidra Sebastian forgotten? 
Do girls in England forget such things ? Well, a Basque 
maiden cannot forget. She hath never giggled in corners 
nor glanced sideways at boys from balconies as, they tell 
me, girls do in Madrid and the red Alfonsist towns. We 
keep our red for blushing, we maids of the Black ! And 
when we love, it is once and for all — not a fresh love 
every week — bass and tenor time about at the window 
bars on serenade nights ! Do lovers in England never 
sing serenades ? I think not. For once, when foolish 
young Martin Puy (my brother Luke's friend) came * tink- 



a-tanking' at our window— it was my father's, at any rate, 
not mine — Don Richard laughed and threatened to go forth 
and twist his neck ! He and I were in the rose-garden 
under the pines, sitting very close each to other — and 

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listening. Which thing, being heard thus, made of poor 
foolish Martin Puy a very mirthful jest ! 

" Ah, you would not believe that ever I jested and was 
merry ? Yet so it was, and Don Richard too — though, as 
I tell you, he walked with his life in one hand — had store 
of good words and bright sayings — aye, and a smile to go 
with every one ! A strange traitor, verily ! Yet they call 
himi so to this day. 

"The English? Ah, I had heard it was hard to learn, 
yet I found it was not so. He was a good teacher, Dick 
mine — so good, indeed, that I asked him (being fretful) 


whether ever he had taught his English to any other girl 
in such fashion before. But at that he stopped my mouth. 
But I held him to the question, and made him answer ere 
I set him free. 

" Yes, thus it was. I do not forget. When I did my 
lesson well he rewarded me. And when I could not say 
the word rightly, he punished me. And strange — you will 
not understand — the reward and the punishment were one. 
So zat — ees — why — / — speaka — ze — Eenglish — with — a — 
good — accent .'" 

Again her tone changed. She spoke no longer to me. 

" Ah, Dick mine, that you should die, who were so good 
and so made to make others happy — me, at least ! For in 
love, whatever she may pretend, 'tis really only herself 
that a girl cares about. But, indeed, what I tell you is 
wicked of me. I know, yet I say it. / would rathe f have 
had him dead than share him with another. Are girls not 
like that in England ? They are in our Spain. I, at least, 
am so." 

I intimated by a shake of the head that I did not under- 
stand these mysteries. 

"Ah," she cried, with a quick flash of youth upon her 
worn face, ** that I do not believe. Remember, * Dick 
mine ' told me many things of England. It is a good 
land, since it gave him to me." 

" But one day he told me that he must soon depart. The 

very thought struck me to the soul, as a 

^^*v/^**^^ knife strikes. I could not do without him 

now. So I pled with him to take me with 

him. But, because his work was dangerous, and must be 

done alone, that thing could not be. 

" * Nevertheless,' said he, ' in two days I shall return, 
and we shall be married. Father Jerome, who came with 


me from Bayona, will do as much for my sake. I had 
occasion to lay him under an obligation.' 

" So at that I clapped my hands with content. I was so 
young, I thought all would then be well. And his going 


did not seem to be hard at all. For, come what would, I 
should have a part in him that none could take away from 
me. And all the time he was gone I said to myself, ' Isidra's 
husband,' instead of ' Dick mine ' as before. Over and over 
I said it. It was sweet to say. And I spoiled many leaves 



of paper with scribbling * Isidra Vincent ' upon it, as he had 
told me was the English fashion of married folk. Yes, I 
wrote it once on the leaf of my Missal, and had to tear it 
out lest my father or my brethren should see. And I have 
thought since that perhaps all the evil which befell might 
have come from that. Yet perhaps not — we were born 
fated, he and I, that was all. 

" Two days he was gone. And then when on the third 
he came back, he was gay of mood and merry of heart. 
But now it seems, looking back, that there was a secret 
weariness on his face. Yet then I minded nothing at all, 
save that I waited for the hour. And Father Jerome brought 
two friends of his for witnesses, holy men, and to write 
things in a book, that all might be properly done. Also 
Father Jerome gave consent in name of my father, because 
of course he was absent. So all was done rightly, and I 
was his — he mine. Wonderful it was to think upon ! 

" But now I know that when God gives such happiness 
as He gave then to me. He gives it not for long — lest men 
and women should not be content with His Paradise, 
having tasted a sweeter here on earth. Yet it returns in 
dreams, and I pray to Mary the Mother that what the 
priest says may not be true — that in heaven there is neither 
marrying nor giving in marriage ! But perhaps God will 
be a little kinder to those whose joy in each other was but 
as the clapping of hands together, a moment and no 

" For the next day, lo ! my husband must leave me, and 
I bide alone looking after him, down the long valley. 
He gave me his papers, all that concerned himself only. 
He told me also that there were some in England who 
would be kind to me for his sake, if ever I wanted kind- 
ness. And when I demurred to take the papers, saying 
that they were doubtless something precious, he bade me 



have no fear. They were all mine, he said, and not 
another's. For was I not all he had ever loved ? — all he had 
in the world to love ? A sweet thing that to keep always 
as a last message ! 

" And even when he was gone, there came no sadness 
over me, no fear, no warn- 
ing ! For all the time 
could I not feel his ring (it 
had been his mother's, he 
said) on its little golden 
chain about my neck? 
Often I ran up to my 
chamber to draw it out, 
and try it on my marriage 
finger — to make sure I 
was indeed a wife ! 

" And once in the heart 
of the night, very far away, 
I heard my husband's voice 
saying in his English, 
* Good-night, little Isidra ! ' 
just as he used to do in 
the rose garden. 

'"Go with God, Dick 
mine ' ! " I answered, be- 
fore I thought, even as he had taught me to say. 

"And I held out my arms to him in the darkness." 


" So, indeed he went with God. That was his good- 
night. And the morning has not yet broken for Isidra. 
But break it will. He said so. And now 1 must go back 
to him. He has been long alone, and he wearies quickly 
for me. But — you have brought me good luck, for he is 
ready to talk to-day. Sometimes he is sad and silent, and 


then Isidra, too, sits sadly. And, Senor, do not be too 
sorry. There are many that are far sadder than I and 
' Dick mine.' What is it that old Father Jerome says when 
he comes, putting his hand on my head ? I do not know 
the Latin words, but it means * In death not divided ! * 
Now hear me speak the English. Do not I speak it well ? 
Good-a-night ! Good-a-bye ! Go you also with God ! " 



To Bino I said nothing of my meeting with Doiia Isidra 

and her father, Don Manuel. After all the matter was a 

personal one — a secret which circumstances 

At San 
had forced upon me, to be guarded all the 

f 11 *u * •<- • Severino 

more caretuily that it was in no sense my 

own. But I had reckoned without the thousand eyes of a 
Spanish house, and I soon found that the tact with which 
I had followed Don Manuel's lead in humouring poor 
Dona Isidra's delusion was known and favourably com- 
mented upon by all at San Severino. 

The evangelist brothers came up one by one, speaking 
frankly and kindly, shaking hands repeatedly, and leaving 
me with many expressions of goodwill. Even the wild- 
eyed herdsmen, slipping in from the hill, grew less sus- 
picious, and after a cigar or two given and accepted, most 
of them found a few words of Castilian, or even of French, 
wherewith to counter my halting Catalan. We eked out 
the situation with that lingua J ranca of all Latin countries 
— abundant gesticulation. In a little while I had a vested 
right to a place among them under the great whitewashed 
hood of the fireplace, which I found much more comfort- 
able than the chilly dignity of the chair in which, once on 
a time, a King had sat. 


Here they smoked and told stories eternally, lower- 
ing their voices indeed when Don Manuel came in, 
or rising to bow with Iberian grace when Dona Carmen, 
or, more rarely. Dona Isidra passed through the house- 

Outside the walls of San Severino the four Sebastian 
brothers were in command, subject indeed to their father's 
supreme authority. But within they were treated as the 
herdsmen and labourers — saving only their place at table, 
which was set within the limits covered by the white 
cloths. All four of them showed at first the aloofness of 
the true mountaineer — they had the slow speech which 
comes of much chewing the cud of thought, the quick grey 
eye, circled by its network of fine lines from being puckered 
in the sun-glare of the snows, or parched by the winds of 
the moistureless plateaus of Northern Spain. 

Slowest and heaviest of all, moving quietly and speak- 
ing little, Don Matthew, the eldest, had nothing of the 
blithe alertness of my Bino's temperament, nor yet did 
he possess his father's high courtesy and knowledge of 
affairs, though of course he had the good manners which 
are the birthright of every Spaniard from Aran valley to 
the cliffs of El Tarik. 

Yet since he came next to his father in the family councils, 
as well as because he was considerably older than the 
others, much deference was shown him. He would often 
come quietly up to me, if he saw me standing gazing out 
upon the mountains, or not reading my book. 

" The Senor is dull," he would say ; " he needs dis- 
traction. We must take him a trip across the mountains. 
That is our panacea for melancholy. Will the Senor try 

At first I did not understand him, and answered that 
having had so much trouble to get out of France, I was 


excellently well pleased to remain where I was, so long as 
my kind hosts were not tired of me. 

Whereat he would protest that San Severino would not 
forgive itself if I so much as threatened to depart before 
having " made the trip." 

" No man is a good Christian," he would insist, " who 
has not harried the partridge's nest beneath the stones." 

It was, of course, Bino who put me on the track of Don 
Matthew's meaning. 

" He is offering you a great honour," said Bino when 
I told him. ** Don Matthew is the head of all the free- 
traders in this part of the world — aye, and as far as Aran 
and Villefranche on the other side. He does not very 
often lead himself. He is getdng too old to carry weight, 
but he arranges with Don John where the * stuff" is to be 
put in hiding and at what dates it is to be ' lifted.' " 

" Then Don Matthew is, in fact, a smuggler ? " 1 said, 
innocently surprised. 

Bino's eyebrows lifted with a quaint amusement. 

" What else ? " he said. " Every man on this side the 
frontier is a smuggler — by birth, by choice, by profession, 
and by pride. The carbineers, the very civil guards, are 
only old smugglers with Government coats on their backs. 
That is why they are dangerous, and why the game is 
such an interesting one. In old days the Government 
sent from Madrid, or from Barcelona, men in the official 
service to catch the smugglers. They are wiser now. 
Tl.ey offer large rewards, and the market value of all the 
goods captured for every conviction " 

"And has this measure put down the practice ? " I con- 

Bino smiled at the extreme crassness of my ignorance. 

" No," he said, reflectively, " I do not know that there 
is any less free-trading across the frontier. But it is not 


done by fools nowadays. That became too dangerous. 
Moreover, there are no Frenchmen in it now — all are 
Spaniards. The Government has made it a good game 
and worth the playing." 

"Then you are no smuggler?" I retorted, though I 
knew otherwise. His eyes twinkled at this. 

"Ah," he said quietly, "you see, I am no true French- 
man. I am not afraid to risk my skin just to feel the 
heart beat quicker. I can dance a jota and flirt a cloak 
in a bull's eyes, thrum the guitar, and lilt a serenade. 
Can any Frenchman alive do these things ? Also I 
have a time or two crossed the saddle that is not made 
of leather ! " 

He pointed to the fair white barrier of the Pyrenees, 
hanging, with the exact line of the peaked saddle-housing 
of the Moors, afar up in the indigo sky. Then, laying 
his hand on my arm, he became confidential. 

" Sir," he said, unconsciously pinching my sleeve, " you 
may read a houseful of books, but till you have ' made the 
trip ' — Over-There-and-Back-Again — you will never un- 
derstand the hill-men, never have your hand on the pulse 
of the North. It is here and here only that the pot 
boils — that is, from Cataluna to Hendaye ! Barcelona is 
as much English as Spanish, more French than either. 
And the workmen of the towns — bah ! Manresa and 
Ripoll — the people there are not true Spanairds. No 
Spaniard works all day with his nose to a machine." 

" No," I answered, very unjustly, in order to provoke 
him ; " he would rather die in the dust, wrapped in a brown 
rug — and scratch ! " 

Bino, however, was far too cosmopolitan to be offended. 

" In Valencia, maybe, you are right," he answered 
serenely; "but you know little of our North if you think 
such things of us. Yonder are the mountains. Beyond 


is France. The old game is played every day — aye, 
though Don Carlos is as dead as the dogs that barked in 
Sodom and Gomorrah, in spite of all the clatter you hear 
about him at San Severino. Come and see what is yet 
left alive ! " 

Even thus did two good men like Bino and Don Matthew 
tempt me to break the revenue laws of their respective 
countries. And so, simply that they might not lose so 
much honest effort, I succumbed. 

When I told Don Matthew that I accepted his invitation, 
he laughed. 

"It was in my mind that you would," he said, "other- 
wise I should not have proposed it. Mark, come hither ! 
Luke— John ! " 

And then the four talked the affair over, only Luke 
being inclined to shake his head. Mark was on the 
whole my favourite, being less reserved than Don Matthew, 
while Luke appeared somewhat suspicious and saturnine, 
and of John the youngest I had as yet seen little. He 
had a sweetheart across the mountains (so Bino told me), 
and combined business with pleasure. He it was who 
placed the stuff ready to be " lifted," and brought word 
when the way was clear. On the other hand, Mark of 
the bluff countenance had acquaintance with all revenue 
officers, was welcome at all customs' posts, and used his 
repute of bon gargon to arrange the White Coups, as they 
were called — that is, those which were permitted or winked 
at by the local authorities in return for a proportion of the 
profit previously agreed upon. 

So while the brothers Sebastian talked together, listen- 
ing to some proposal which my friend Mark was making 
to them, I naturally moved to a distance that I might not 
hear. But presently Matthew beckoned me. 

"Mark here wishes to blood you on a White Coup," 


he said, smiling, " before you run the risks of the 


" I do not understand the difterence," I said. 

" It is mainly this. During the most part of a White 

Coup you can ride a mule. In a Black you must run all 

the way on your own legs. In a White 

^ V ^ Coup no one will meddle with you ; but in 

,,*!„, a Black it is to be expected that some very 
th3 Black , .„ , , , 

clever men will try to catch you, and that 

some exceedingly good shots will fire rifle bullets at 

you ! " 

" The difference is certainly material," 1 answered, 
" but I wish to understand the traffic to the bottom. I vote 
for the Black ! " 

•' Well and good," said my friend Mark, laying his hand 
on my shoulder to curb my enthusiasm. " All the fruits 
of the earth in their seasons ! But we also wish to try you. 
Before we take the sword to the battle we test it in the 
assault-at-arms. We will try the White first — indeed, it 
has been already arcanged. The Velez Pass is to be open 
to night — is it not so, John ? " 

The youngest of the four nodded. 

" Do not let the Senor think that even so, there is no 
danger," he added. '' My brother has made treaty with 
one only of the revenue officers. It is true he is the chief 
on this side, and we go empty-handed into France, But 
though Brigadier Muros is a moderately honest man and 
means to keep his word, it is by no means certain that he 
can put a halter on all his subordinates. If any of these 
do not obey his instructions to leave the \^elez alone 
to-night, or have time to inform a superior officer, we 
must fight. This time our cargo is too valuable to 

It goes without saying that the risk was accepted. Who, 



indeed, could refuse ? Not certainly one who had been 
brought up in an atmosphere of smuggling — decent, 
reasonable, logical, conscientious defrauding of the revenue. 
Had I not heard Cameronian elders gravely argue in 
favour of the practice, as a means of protesting against 
the unscriptural exactions of an uncovenanted King ? Did 
not a complete smuggler's outfit of pack-saddle and keg 
chains hang at the end of the corn-mow in the barn of the 
house in which I was born, while over the mantelpiece 
was placed the leathern quirt of a relative reputed in his 
day to have been deep in the traffic — the same with which 
he had been wont to stimulate his cavalcade from Porto- 
warren over the Cloak Moss towards Glasgow, with a 
score of revenue men full tilt after him ? 

But the Solway free-trade, the good and the ill of it, 
was over and done with decades before ever I set foot on 
the planet — at least, in this present incarnation. Never 
had the ear of flesh at the Dark o' any Moon heard their 
bridle reins jingling clear along the craigs of Co'en. 

True, I had lain all day among the heather, and pointed 
a gun with deadly intent at a " real-for-true " ganger, who 
(I told myself) was beating the countryside in search of 
my " cave." But in truth my weapon was of wood, the 
gauger only a friend of my youngest uncle's, and the pair 
of them engaged in no more dangerous occupation than 
that of ferreting rabbits. Still, I was heir to the spirit of 
the game. None knew better than I how the thing ought 
to be gone about. And here in Spain I had a chance for 
once to be my own great-grandfather and find out how it 
felt to have smuggled with Captain Yawkins and lain out 
on the hillside with Silver Sand. 

It was nine o'clock at night when Bino finished my toilet 
I wore a knitted cap, soft and clinging, on my head (the 
use of which I found out when I got up within the shrewd 


bite of the mountain frosts), a blue blouse belted at the 
waist, gaiters oi pano pardo for my legs, thick double socks, 
alpargata sandals, and a pair of fingerless mittens for my 

Don Manuel had kept out of the way all day. Indeed, 
as responsible householder it was part of his duty to do 
so. 1 found out afterwards that he had ridden down to 
spend the day and night with his friend the Bishop, at 
the little city of El Seo, many miles down the valley. 
He had even invited the Alcalde of the town to dine with 
him. It was the most complete of alibis. 

An unwonted animation stirred within the sombre walls 
of the ancient monastery. The atmosphere of San Severino 
was electric with expectation. Dona Isidra was nowhere 
to be seen, and I did not go into the little graveyard of 
the dead monks where it was likely she would be found. 
But Dona Carmen was everywhere, fluttering with excite- 
ment, almost to the point of hand-clapping, as this " com- 
rade" and that other appeared from behind a rock, dropping 
silently and unobtrusively down upon San Severino, his 
knife at his thigh, his gun slung across his back, like kites 
that scent the battlefield from afar. 

A faint but continuous clattering guided me to the stables, 
which were mostly hewn out of the limestone rock, as dry 
as bone and as clean as a garnished altar. Luke the Grim 
met me at the door. I knew he did not quite approve of 
me, this Luke — no Beloved Physician he ! 

" You are in good time, Senor ! Enter and choose your 
beast," he said. 

And going in I found the whole range of stalls filled 
with beautiful mules, the finest I had ever seen in Spain. 
Each macho looked over its shoulder as I moved along, 
observed strangers in the gallery, and — slightly widened 
the space between its hind feet. 


Whereupon, recognising the guile in the heart of Don 
Luke, I charged him with it. He laughed. 

" Well," he said, " I do not deny that there are one or 
two that are apt to take a stranger at an advantage, and 
you do not ill to leave the matter to brother Matthew. 
But come, I will show you something that you may never 
have seen the like of." 

He preceded me to the end of the long corridor, and, 
pointing with his hand, said, " Look up ! " 

I did so, and saw that the low-hewn roof 
of these monolithic stables had expanded 
, . to the height of a stately cathedral nave. 

" The cavern is a natural one," said Don 
Mark ; " it winds through the heart of the mountains. 
Listen — do you hear anything ? " 

I had become conscious of a low humming sound, which, 
as I approached a large trapdoor of wood banded with iron, 
changed to a rushing of water. 

Luke raised the lid. A booming sound rose out of a 
black cavity, as regularly pierced as the bore of a well, 
which yawned beneath. I stepped hastily back as a puff 
of ice-cold wind blew upward in my face. 

** In the good monks' time," said Luke, still more grimly, 
"the English heretic who set foot on trap-door would 
have been by this time . . ." 

And he pointed suggestively downwards. 

" Also the trap opened more easily in those days," he 
added ; " and here in the wall is the hole through which 
they pulled the bolt behind his infidel back." 

And there sure enough it was, a round hole worn smooth 
by the friction of a cord. 

" We use it for keeping our stables clean in these times," 
he continued, " but the good fathers shot other rubbish 
here ! In which, perhaps, they had the better judgment ! " 


He took a newspaper from his pocket, tied it tightly in 
the centre, leaving the ends in a loose brush, struck a 
match, and set fire to the bundle. Then leaning over he 
let it drop into the deep shaft of the well. As it descended 
I could see the grey sides, dry as bone, without a 
particle of vegetation, smooth and water-worn, not to be 
climbed by human foot. As the newspaper fell rapidly, 
flaming like a torch, it receded till it became no bigger 
than a star — till it was no bigger than a pin's head. Then 
it struck the water, black as ink, which flowed through 
the bowels of the mountain — the sound of which, booming 
up, came to our ears with a heart-quailing note of awe. 

" That is the Abbey back-door," he said. " The monks 
called it the Mouth of Forgetfulness." 

I confess I was rather relieved when Luke shut down 
the trap. I did not again venture upon it, or test whether 
indeed it might not (just once more) open downwards in- 
stead of up. The bolt might not quite have forgotten its 
old tricks, and I had no idea of following the flaming 
newspaper down into Lethe Mouth with such expedition. 

At last all was ready for the White Coup. Our 
provisions were all duly put away in leathern sausage- 
bags upon the necks of our mules. By Don Matthew's 
good offices I was allotted a broad-backed animal of ap- 
proven temper, whose only fault was that she would not 
allow the least pull upon her bridle without making trouble. 
But, left with a free rein, she would follow her leader 
perfectly and willingly. 

The bells which make every muleteer's train a far-heard 
rippling tintinnabulation were now carefully stripped from 
the graith, and deposited by each driver in his own private 
stall. Horsecloths doubled were substituted for saddles, 
and the keg girths, of strongly sewn canvas with leathern 
slings, were prepared to receive the small casks and boxes 


which were to be the object of our quest. Then, each 
man leading his beast, we filed out into the night. Up to 
this moment I had been a respectable British citizen, 
travelling in Spain under the immediate protection and 
passport of my Lord Salisbury, Minister for Foreign 
Affairs. The passport was still in my pocket, yet now I 
might sing with the best of my comrades, " Yo / que soy 
contrabandtsta 1 Yo ho ! " 

For the first time in my life I was an outlaw. If I were 
caught in the act, my country would disclaim me. And 
at the thought my heart was filled with joy unspeakable — 
far beyond the delights of virtue. 

It was a clear starry night, and in a little while we 
would have the moon. Our path lay down the long valley 
I had looked into from Don Manuel's watch-shelf. The 
hills mounted steeply on the right. Behind was the clear 
line of the snows. In the bottom of the valley, flashing 
silver-white, dividing, uniting, hiding and reappearing, 
playing hide-and-seek with the innumerable boulders and 
rocky islands, ran the infant river. As the moon rose we 
could see the path by which we were to go — the Velez 
Pass, left clear for to-night only, in virtue of the afore- 
mentioned friendly arrangement with the brigadier of the 

At my first mounting upon Conchita of the Bells I felt 
a great sense of insecurity. For indeed the path at this 
place differed but little from the torrent bed fifty yards 
further down, save that it was a little dryer. But my 
companion, an old gipsy, whom I had last seen exercising 
his national profession of horse-clipping under the shadow 
of the great aqueduct at Segovia, reassured me. 

" Comfortable as your Excellency's easy chair at home," 
he said, "is Conchita of the Bells— a pearl of a mule, 
Conchita — Don Manuel himself rides her." 



Which last I thought no great recommendation. For 
the old chief of San Severino was a very centaur in the 
saddle, whilst I, to put the matter mildly, was not. But 

it turned out even 

as my Segovian 
acquaintance pre- 
dicted. Conchita 
of the Bells was a 
paragon, certainly 
— mouse - colour, 
steady, for a lady- 
mule good - tem- 
pered, actually 
underst a n d ing 
kindness, and 
even to some ex- 
tent responding 
to it. 

Up the pass we 
went, so far with- 
out very much 
concealment. The 
night was yet 
young. There 
was plenty of time 
— the moon in the 
right quarter. We 
kept in the shadow, mostly I think for the sake of disci- 
pline. Indeed, Don Matthew checked John and Mark 
several times for breaking out into the swinging catch 
of a Malaguena. But they (and he) knew that there was 
no real danger. The Guardias Civiles had been sent far 
off — they knew still better why. They were patrolling 
the Cerde or smoking under the arcades of El Seo, with 




Don Manuel talking to his friend the Bishop and keeping 
an eye upon them from the episcopal balcony. 

The extension of the telegraph throughout Spain is of 
immense service to the free-traders. For instance, if Don 
Manuel wired to his son from the telegraph office at El Seo 
that he saw a chance to dispose of " the dun cow " upon a 
certain date. The "dun cow" was a code word for the 
Velez Pass. The " white macho " would have meant 
another route on the side towards Andorra. Occasionally 
such despatches, if containing anything of exceptional 
secrecy, or leading words not provided for in the pre- 
arranged code, would be sent to Bourg Madame, Lez, 
Saint Beat, or some other office on the French side, from 
which they were brought to San Severino by one or other 
of those swift and willing messengers with whom all the 
frontier villages are filled from one end of the Pyrenees 
to the other. 

The " Velez " Pass — you will not find it on the map, at 

least under that name — is by no means one of the highest 

passes. Neither is it one of the easiest. It is, 

,^ f in fact, a mule track, and the bridges across 

V elez 

the torrents are made passable for that 

animal. Still, so far as I was concerned, I wished that 
Conchita of the Bells had been going alone over these knife- 
edges. As we approached the first bridge the moon- 
light struck on the white cliff, sheer as a cathedral wall. 
The rough logs sounded hollow under Conchita's pat- 
tering hoofs. There was not the vestige of a parapet on 
either side. The Aran roared sixty feet below of 
the colour of cafe-au-lait, chafing about the boulders 
in the stream. I felt that I was, after all, perhaps 
more suited to a sedentary life than to be a smuggler 
bold like my great-grandfather. At least, if the choice 
bad been allowed, I would rather have done my smuggling 



on foot. One feels desperately ill-prepared to die, perched 
at midnight on mule-back, crossing a yard-wide bridge 
in the heart of the Pyrenees. 

Once across, however, the path grew better. Yonder 
were the familiar telegraph poles, stalking away as fast 
as they could in the direction of France. Presently there 
came another crossing much more to my liking. This 
second bridge had stone foundations, a little ruinous it is 
true — but, what attached me to it especially, a strong and 
picturesque parapet, doubled along the top and cross- 
gartered with sturdy pine ties beneath. It was a bridge 
to please the eye of Mr. Joseph Pennell. I felt more 
than ever, as Conchita strode confidently across it, that I 
had always loved the picturesque. 

By midnight we were far up on the mountain slopes. 
Presently, however, the path faded out, and a general 
sense of direction alone kept the cavalcade on its way. 
We serpentined up the ravines, listening for the stones 
which whizzed down from high above, and passed the 


ear with a vicious " scat " as if warning us off their 

Then we crossed talus after talus of snow, the half- 
rotten remains of the spring avalanches. In one place 
the whole of the path had been cut clean away, and it was 
necessary to make a long and difficult ditour in order to 
get the mules round. 

Some ten minutes before midnight we reached the top 
of the pass, a wide flattish valle}'^ with the mountains 
bellying upwards on either side like half-filled balloons, 
not at all like the jagged wave-crests we had seen from 
San Severino. 

We had begun to descend ; but we were not yet on 
French soil. The snow, which had never been heavy, 
thinned out and grew patchy. Pines, buried almost to 
their tips in shaly debris^ grew on undauntedly, as if 
nothing had happened. Then came pines half uncovered, 
with branches weighted by the downward push of the 
detritus, pines desperately clutching at the rock crevices 
to avoid being pushed altogether over the precipices. So, 
hour after hour, on we went till, lo ! on a sudden, far 
below, a French village lay clear in the moonlight. It 
was built in a true Pyreneean cirque, and from it certain 
terraces of cultivation struggled up, potato mostly, with 
patches of onion and beet. Sainte-Marthe-de-Lez was 
the strangest village I had ever seen — seen, that is, as we 
saw it, by moonlight and from high above. I wished that 
it had been possible to photograph it. But for that I had 
to wait another year ; and then, in the broad glare, it 
looked nothing so very marvellous — a mere huddle of 
white and red houses on the side of a mountain. In one 
place and another, indeed, it seemed as if the foundations 
had given way and the houses slid together, like children's 
toys when the toybox is overturned. But let no one seek 



it out. It is mine by right of pre-emption. Trespassers 
will be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law I 

Between two huge black bastions of rock we halted. 
John, the youngest of the San Severino brothers, went on 
ahead. It was now one o'clock in the morning. The air 

was of a razor edge, 
and I for one felt 
eager enough to be 
on the backward 
track into Spain. 




For the moment, smug- 
gling seemed a foolish 
thing, or, if done at all, 

ought to be gone about comfortably, with registered 
trunks and a Napoleon in one's waistcoat pocket where- 
with to grease the palm of the custom-house officer. 

However, there was nothing better for it. We had to 
wait, patiently or not, according to temperament. Luke 
came along the line, speaking to none of us, for to men 
his mood was bitter. But, for all his surliness, he was a 
true lover of animals. 

*' They do not outwit one like an Englishman," he was 
accustomed to say, " they do not lie like a Frenchman, 
nor jabber like a woman of any country. Your horse is 


more silent than a Basque, your mule more obstinate than 
an Aragonese ! " So now he passed along the line, patting 
and fondling every item of the cavalcade, with a word for 
each as he went by. 

" Daughter, well done ! " he would say to Conchita of 
the Bells, who nuzzled a moist nose in his breast. An 
Englishman would have grunted, " Hut ! you beast ! " 
But this surly young Basque only laid an arm behind the 
beast's head as if she had been his sweetheart, and mur- 
mured coaxingly, " Aye ! here we are ! It is as I told 
you. Is it not so ? An hour or two more and you will 
again be in your stable. Beauty ! " 

Stamping with the feet being forbidden, the only sound 
(after Don Luke had betaken himself away out of sight) 
was the nervous shaking of the chains which each beast 
wore attached to its pack-saddle, telling of the plague of 
insects from which these animals suffer. 

At last, from far up the valle}^ the moon being hidden 
behind the spreading cloud of night, there came a faint, 

tremulous pattering, the clink of iron, the 

Conchita of r u j u r i- • 1 

scrape oi a shod hoot supping on a rock. 

The mules grew more and more uneasy, but 
made no noise. It was the cavalcade which we were there 
to meet. Don John had not made his arrangements in 
vain. We heard them long before they reached us, for 
the air was so thin and clear upon the heights that sounds 
carried far. 

Then I understood how impossible is this kind of 
smuggling with mule-trains, unless the officials are bribed. 
The Guardias Civiles know the mountains and patrol them 
perfectly. Yet, so admirably arranged is the administra- 
tion, that not they, but the local carbineers control the 
excise. The civil guards are for the prevention and 
punishment of crime. They have quite extirpated 


brigandage and, practically also, blackmail. But smug- 
gling is another matter. In their hearts, the very gen- 
darmes do not believe it to be wrong. It is meritorious, 
rather. Every dashing young blade must sow his 
wild oats on the passes. The police, even, are only 
officiallj' on the official side. And I have heard of a 
carbineer, on holiday and home to see his parents, taking 
a trip in plain clothes, tras los monies, just to keep himself 

At any rate there was evidently going to be no inter- 
ference this night. So at least we were assured. And, 
indeed, the trans-shipment of the casks of " Martel," the 
packages of French dress goods, cases of champagne, 
boxes of guns, ammunition, and other heavy articles, made 
enough noise to bring the carbineers upon us from the 
distance of several miles. All was remarkably free and 
easy. There was abundance of jesting, handshaking, the 
drinking of a draught or two, and, lo ! the chains were 
being looped upon the full pack saddles. Conchita of the 
Bells was now dowered with a couple of cases of cheap 
assorted jewellery destined for the Fair of the Holy Virgin 
of the Pillar at Zaragoza. As the moon came out of the 
cloud Conchita looked over her shoulder to see if I were 
going to mount as well. But I thought of the smugglers' 
bridges, and assured her that I had been brought up to 
show kindness to all dumb animals. 

Thus, with a full cargo, we started back towards the 
pass. At first I held Conchita's bridle and led her. Or, 
perhaps, it would be truer to say that Conchita pushed 
me. For at all the really perilous parts of the roads, 
where the cases on one side could be heard scraping 
against the wall of rock, and on the other observed over- 
hanging an abyss swimming with pale blue vapour, a 
sharp tug at the bridle warned me that Conchita desired 


the privilege of preserving her own balance without 
unskilled assistance. 

Indeed after the first mile I never interfered with her. 
For Conchita had a convincing display of dentistry when 
I went in front, and a playful readiness of hoof when I 
lagged behind, both worthy of the utmost respect. Don 
John asserted she could kill a bluebottle with her left 
at six feet from her tail, and certainly John should have 
known. But it is to be admitted that his brother evan- 
gelists were not synoptic with him on this occasion. 

All the same, I liked to listen to his stories, when he 
dropped behind his mule and began to talk. The 
rhythmical movement of the cavalcade, the slipping of 
some of the beasts on the ice-worn stones prevented me 
from catching all that he said. He spoke in a low even 
voice, that he might not be called to order by Don 
Matthew. But I made out that he was offering to 
associate me with his brother Mark and himself in some- 
thing infinitely more distinguished than " free-trade by 

Among his other accompHshments, Don John spoke 
French much better than any of his brothers. 

" Small praise to him," quoth his brother Mark, " when 
he has had half a score of sweethearts 'twixt here and the 
Ariege to learn it from. I could have spoken French also, 
had I learned it as an old dog learns to be indoors at 
supper-time ! " 

As revealed to me, the achievement in prospect was 
infinitely more " class " than that upon which I was being 

" See," said Don John, " like this it shall happen. 
When we are almost clear of the Velez on the way back, 
you and I with Mark will cut across a col I know well, to 
a place I know better, where we can lie and rest a day or 


two. It is a place of friends. There we may watch for a 
chance to bring over a dozen packages, worth all these 
mule-loads of rubbish a dozen times over. And we will 
pay never a sou to fat old Muros, the brigadier of 
carbineers down at El Seo. He would ask too much, the 
old skinflint, the pcijaro ! Even for this night, I question 
whether there will be a matter of twenty francs left over 
for each man. But next time all shall be for ourselves. 
And what can any man do without money ? I, who am 
the stoutest contrabandisla on the mountains — even I 
cannot get married till I put down enough to buy a little 
piece of land. Yes, Senor, a powerful noble is my Lord 
Money. God is Almighty, truly — but on the day after 
He created the world He dubbed Money His viceroy ! " 

"Why, Don John," I said, " surely it cannot be that 
she whom you love is mercenary ? " 

I could see him shrug his shoulders in the moonlight. 

" No," he said, " my girl would let me take her across 
my saddle any night, and live content with me in a cane 
brake. But she has a father who — well, is a Frenchman, 
and thinks that his ' little economies ' will bring him to 
Paradise ! And Josephine is a good girl, and would fret 
her heart out to disobey her parents. It is strange. 
Certes, I would disobey mine soon enough, if I did not 
know that Don Manuel would immediately take a gun and 
shoot me dead for it ! " 

It was the earliest orange-and-smok3'^-crimson dawn of 
Northern Spain, when, after duly making our adieus to 
Don Matthew and Don Luke, who were left in charge of 
the cavalcade, the two remaining brothers Sebastian, with 
Bino and myself, struck away to the left, over a pine- 
covered col which led presently into the wildest country I 
had yet seen. 


These long, gracefully contoured ridges of the Eastern 
Pyrenees have a way of breaking down suddenly — as it 
were, when no one is looking — into a dance of splintered 
peaks, towered bastions, poised rocking-stones, vast 
cirques with precipitous sides, bare save for the clinging 
cystus and the wild rhododendron. 

More than once I impressed it on the Sebastians that 
there was really no need for such hurry. Even Bifio 
added his entreaties to mine. But I verily believe that 
Mark and John did not know that they were going over 
the terrible ground as fast as a fairly good walker could 
cover a piece of level road. 

After a night of climbing and mule-riding it may be 
supposed that I was glad enough when we came to a halt 
on a craggy platform, with a couple of stern grey bastions 
towering immediately above us. Mark pointed down- 
wards and said, " There ! That is the finest mas in all the 
Eastern Pyrenees — it is the farm of the great Don 
Cristobal Ribas ! " 

" That is where we are to wait ? " I asked with some 
hope. It was a cosy modern-looking range of buildings. 
Not that I was particular. A shed full of hay — a bed of 
clover and mountain fodder, a mouthful of bread and 
cheese, with, if the gods were kind, a bota of wine — 
these were all I asked of Senor Don Cristobal Ribas, or 
any other Senor. 

The Sebastian brothers burst out laughing at my 
ignorance. Even Bifio smiled. " It will be our most 
earnest endeavour," said my friend Don Mark, "to keep 
out of the path of Don Cristobal. It were good to eat, 
better still to sleep. Yet we must go about, and far about, 
that no shepherd on his hills, or fodder-lout looking up 
from his stock-yard, may get his eyes upon us." 

" Is he. then, in the service of the Government ? " 


For the second time they laughed. And again Mark 
enlightened me, 

" No," he said, " Don Cristobal is not with the Govern- 
ment. On the Pyrenees there is no one on the side of 
the Government — no, not its own officers. Learn this — 
that in all the North — Guipuzcoa, Navarra, Aragon, 
Cataluna — when people speak respectfully of the Spanish 
Government they have their tongues in their cheeks. 
Don Cristobal is no spy of Madrid, but he is worse. He 
is a rival in business, and if he got wind that the Sebas- 
tians were in his country to run a batch, it is ten to one 
that we should be relieved of the task of carrying home 
so much as a single package ! " 

"You mean that he would steal your property ? " 

The brothers shrugged their shoulders at my invincible 
English ignorance. 

"Oh, no," they answered, philosophically, "the thing 
is a custom of Spain. We would have to fight for the 
goods, and the strongest, of course, would 
take them. For how could we carry any 
complaint to the authorities ? Every stick . 

has two ends, you see, so that is why we 
are so careful to hold tightly to ours, lest Don Cristobal 
should beat us with the other ! " 

So even as Don Mark had said, we were at great pains 
to pass unseen high above the well-cared-for buildings of 
Don Cristobal Ribas, member of the Cortes, smuggler 
and practical freebooter. 

It seemed that the pass we were now to essay was in a 
manner of speaking " held in fee " by the owner of the 
great alqueria beneath us. And being a man who stood 
well with the Government, not an ex-Carlist like Don 
Manuel Sebastian, he had much more liberty. So in the 
pass which, as it were, opened out of his back garden, 


being the best and most secret east of the Maladetta, the 
interference of strangers was not invited. And it was 
whispered that by means of his tusos and peones, the 
modern parliamentarian levied toll upon all, much after 
the manner of the merry barons of old. Yet I have been 
privileged to see this same gentleman take his railway 
ticket at Jaca for Madrid. To be exact, it was a ticket of 
the second class. He also made speeches which were 
printed in all the newspapers of the region. I was even 
introduced to him and had the honour of dining at his 
table. I found him courteous, well informed, and with 
the manners of a prince. After dinner, toasts were called 
for. It was the time of the " late unpleasantness " with 
regard to Cuba, so when I was called upon to give a toast 
I thought myself tolerably safe with " Vtva Espafta ! " 
There were half a dozen gentlemen present, all Spaniards, 
all proprietors of the neighbourhood. To my surprise 
and embarrassment they sat still, though I was on my 
feet, and at sad loss for words. The pause was decidedly 
an awkward one. I ran over in my mind how I could 
possibly have given ofifence. Then my host, toying with 
his wine-glass, said without looking at me, " If the Senor 
will change his toast to * Vtva Cataluna ! ' we are with 
him to a man ! " The which, without any disloyalty to 
the existing Government of Spain, I instantly and most 
thankfully did. 

In the meantime, however, we left Don Cristobal's 
masarie far beneath us, descending down, down, down 
into a dusty sun-baked plain, surrounded on every side 
by hills and looking like a little bit of Africa dropped by 
mistake into a " howe " of the Pyrenees. Cataluna and 
Eastern Aragon are full of such contrasts. They are so 
near the Mediterranean coast that ever and anon one comes 
on bits of them which are as Moorish as Murcia itself. 


The mountains towards the north were low and barren, 
yet already in the improved dwellings of the people one 
could see that there was another spirit abroad. For 
though the valley was Spanish territory, the river which 


was to wet me several times during the trip sped on into 

We were nearing our journey's end. In the midst of 
the sun-baked valley, dusty and dreary like a brickfield, 
there was one striking memorial of ancient times. The 
bold keep of a ruined castle, flanked by two towers of 
massive stones, stood up sharply out of the barren plain. 
Jackdaws circled and cawed about the turrets, and the 
building, as we first saw it, might have been deserted for 
five hundred years. But lo ! when we came to the leonine 


front which it turned towards the mountain, we found 
that a huge plastron of red brick had been most incongru- 
ously attached to its northern side. In this a great door 
was pierced, proportionate indeed to the castle but utterly 
disproportionate to the internal accommodation, being 
twent3'-five feet high and partlyclosed with a screen of rough 


wood, from which depended a string curtain. An ordinary 
whitewashed house was attached to the right of this House 
of the Cyclops. But the haze of morning so heightened 
the weird effect on these patched ruins, that they seemed 
to my eyes even more impressive than San Severino, 
standing out stark and bone-bare on the sun-baked plain. 

Every seeker after new impressions will understand 
with what pleasure I heard Don Mark say that here for 
the present was the bourne of our travel. 

As it happened, we had two days and a night to remain at 
Torre Toran, so that I had abundant opportunity of study- 
ins: both the place and its inhabitants. In 
Jt ^^^^ the small photograph the long battlemented 
wall to the rear, broken down in places, is 
not shown. We had to skirt this in order to reach the 

"VOILA tout!" 


entrance of ceremony. As we did so an old woman came 
along, clothed in black from head to foot. A black hood 
shaped out of a shawl was over her head, almost conceal- 
ing her face. She was driving before her a little flock of 
goats and she-asses, which, resignedly enough, proceeded 
to search for herbage where apparently even a royal 
warrant would not have produced a single blade of grass. 

The old lady took not the least notice of us, sombrely 
keeping on her way, her eyes on the ground and her hands 
holding together the ends of the shawl with which she 
was hooded. Don John explained. 

" She is called the Mother-of-Renato. The gendarmes 
killed him in the pass ! " 

He spoke quite as if the matter were of ordinary occur- 
rence. I was interested to know which pass. 

" The same through which you are to go to-night," he 

This interested me still more. I pressed for par- 

" Oh," said John lightly, " it was nothing unusual. It 
might arrive to any one. He was called upon to stop. 
And he did not stop. Voild tout ! " 

Exactly — it might arrive to any one ! Well, I at least 
knew some one who, if called upon to stop, would stop 
with extreme suddenness. I was not so young as when 
I ran in the college paper-chase. And besides, running 
away full tilt is, to say the least of it, unseemly. 

As we approached the side entrance (the " Gate of the 
Sun-dial") a second old woman, this time more gaily 
attired in blue head kerchief, red-and-green striped shawl 
with a crimson border, a faded lilac dress and a red apron, 
was conducting the last of another herd of goats through 
a narrow doorway into an inner courtyard. 

" We are in luck," said Don John, gleefully ; " that is 



our hostess, Dona Ana. She is taking in her flock to be 
milked. We are in time for dinner." 

Now in the splendid speech of hungry Spain there is 
no word so wholly pleasant as comida, which signifies the 
solid and comfortable meal which can be taken at any 
hour. Breakfast is generally a delusion, and supper the 
heart is sick for, because it is always so long deferred. 
But comida is infallibly a " square meal," and though on 
this occasion it approached the unfashionable hour of 
three (as the long clean line upon the sun-dial shows), I 
was rejoiced that we had hit to a nicety the time of the 
dinner of the workers. Within, we found three or four 
hardy fellows reclining in the high airy coolness, some on 
sacks, some on couches of juniper and heath brought from 
the alp outside. The floor itself was of beaten clay, with 
that bloom upon it which is the sign-manual of Spain, 
where all things, even the sunsets, appear through a ruddy 
haze of dust. 

All rose at our entrance. The two evangehst brothers 
shook hands familiarly, and with a few words, evidently 
cabalistic, introduced Bino and myself. The j)ot-au-feu 
was soon steaming on the table, brought in by the cook, a 
young and comely woman, who apparently blushed on the 
least provocation. She was, however, on eminently good 
terms with Don John. But there was evidently a mystery 
somewhere, for Bifio and I were warned not to let out to 
any of those at Torre Toran that Don John had engaged 
himself " for the good motive" to a sweetheart over in 
the Ariege. 

The explanation seemed to be that in the not distant 
past our inconstant 3'outh had had an affair with the 
pretty dame of the pots and pans. 

" She is married now," he says, somewhat shamefacedly, 
explaining the matter; ** but what would you? She is 


married herself, but just like a woman, she would not like 
to hear that / was going to marry myself also ! " 

He set up for knowing something about women, this 
same slender Don John. But whether he was right or 
not in this instance, certain it is that, when at last the 
comida smoked upon the table, to him were apportioned 
both wings of the chicken, a slight which, at least, one 
other person felt very much — for the discerning would as 
soon think of eating the beak as the leg of a full-sized 
Pyreneean pullet. 

There was the usual difficulty in making out which was 
the husband of the young woman. The amo or " good- 
man " of the house, was a grey-headed crisp-tempered old 
fellow, who sat a little behind the cowl of the fireplace. 
Then, when Dona Ana came in with the milk with which 
to make his special mess of rice and eggs, all of us had to 
rise and be introduced afresh to her as the ama, or wife of 
the proprietor of Torre Toran. 

It was not for some time, and only by careful observa- 
tion, that I made out the husband of our pretty cook to be 
a certain quiet, stoop-shouldered giant, who sat hour after 
hour looking into the fire without saying a word to any 
one, without glancing at his wife, or seeming to notice the 
numerous compliments that were showered upon her. 
His sole occupation was to throw scraps to a band of 
hungry cats which appeared from nowhere and every- 
where, only to be shooed away by the cook, or dislodged 
from under settles by the rattle of Dona Ana's broom. I 
noticed, however, that the big man occasionally held out 
his hand in an absent-minded way to his wife for a 
handful of scraps wherewith to continue his feeding 
operations. Her hand invariably met his. 

After dinner, and when some excellent wine had fortified 
the inner man, sharp-set after the shrewd air of the 


mountain tops, I was informed by Don Mark that it would 
be impossible to " lift " the goods that night. The party 
which had agreed to cache them had found itself watched, 
and had had to return with them to headquarters near to 
Saint Beat. Don John had gone off to make new arrange- 
ments. He would be back in the morning. Glad enough 
of the rest, I took my camera, and, after the manner of 
my kind, went forth to seek what I might devour. 

I was not long in finding a witching marvel of an 
ancient doorway, evidently belonging to the chapel of the 
castle. Saints surrounded the broad arch. Devils grinned 
from the low tiles. The inlay work of grey and red 
porphyry was perfect as the day it had been completed. 
But a pair of the amo's trousers flapped from the handle 
of the great door, and as I waited the mother of the dead 
Renato passed slowly up the steps with a brace of cans of 
milk fresh from her turn at the dairy. So that, though it 
was certainly invisible to the human eye, the goats and 
the she-asses must have found fodder among the stony 
debris about Torre Toran. 

That night I slept on a mattress in a corner, the sleep 
of the tired and the insect-immune. Let none go gipsying 
in Spain whom a flea will bite — not to speak of the yet 
slower and more deadly terror of the Creeping-Thing- 
that-walketh in Darkness ! In the morning, very early, 
Bino came to my bedside with a cup of chocolate and a 
glass of water, which I took thankfully enough, with a 
lump of black or rather brown bread thereto. The 
curtain was already drawn aside from the great twenty- 
five foot door, and from where I lay I could see right out 
across the plain to the summits of the hills, all covered 
with fresh-fallen snow, the clouds still wreathing and 
hovering about them, or slowly mounting in long level 
banks as the sun struck upon them. The whole interior 



of Torre Toran was filled with the fresh scents of 

I rose and went out. All was of a magic and mystic 
clearness. Little details of hill-side ten miles away came 
out as if within pistol shot, a broken pine, a fox earth — or 
at least so it seemed — perhaps, more likely, the mouth of 
some yawning cavern. The landscape from verge to 
verge was washed with dew — spring-cleaned, as it were, 
while the nearer rocks and cliffs had the delusive glitter 
of French polish. 

A long lazy day was before us at Torre Toran. Don 

John had come back and was helping the pretty cook to 

_ get the breakfast. He had girt himself with 


. a blue apron, and now peeled vegetables, 

-i: , , washed salad, and cleaned knives — while 


the son of the house, the lady's husband, 

occasionally glanced at him with a slow smile of quizzical 

contempt. There was no harm in Don John — so much 

his smile said. And at any rate, his own Albecete knife 

was by his side — the repairer of mistakes, the "regulator" 

of all things that go awry in Spain. But Don John also 

knew this as well as any one, and (be it said again) there 

was no harm in Don John. 

There is little to tell of the day — which shows how 

pleasantly it must have gone, I sat out, mainly in the 

yard, and smoked with Bino and the husband of the pretty 

cook, Don Reinaldo, who drawled sleepy tales in easy 

French of a good accent. He had been at the lycee of 

St. Gaudens, I was astonished to hear. But he was more 

than content to come home again to Torre Toran. He 

was the only son of the , house, and as he said, " I might 

have been a small official in France, and sat all day writing 

in a book or licking on postage stamps. But how much 

better to be here with the hills all about, a wife who loves 



me, a brave old father as tough as saddle-leather, a good 
mother who would die for me, a few books, and every 
day a chance to use my gun ! " 

He showed me his armoury, of which he was justly 
proud. It 
contained a 
very fine new 
bought for 
him by a 
friend, in 
Paris. It was 
kept like a 
piece of jewel- 
ry. He pos- 
sessed besides 
a double-bar- 
relled English 
sporting gun, 
and a Webley 
revolver of the 
heaviest navy 
pattern. I 
happened to 
have a few 
cartridges to 
suit this last 
at the bottom 

of my camera carrying-case, with which I made him 
exceedingly happy. In return he told me many tales, 
some romantic and a few full of a humour of the 
broader sort. And so we whiled the time past, till the 
fall of the twilight brought the band together. By this 
time I had taken a great liking for Don Reinaldo, this 



quiet man who had seen and done so many things, who 
loved both "Don Quijote" and "Gil Bias" in their 
original tongues, and who under a blouse of blue linen 
and a flat-brimmed cap, hid away such a world of refine- 
ment and good sense. As I was taking a picture of 
him seated on a log in the castle-yard, he advised me 
for that night to leave my camera at Torre Toran. His 
.wife would take every care of it in our absence, he 

It was between eight and nine when we started, not as 
formerly in one imposing cavalcade, but on foot and in 
little groups of two or three at most. Don Reinaldo and 
Bino kept close to me. Not a word was uttered. It was 
a gloomy starless night, the moon obscured, and so dark 
at first that I would have stumbled and fallen had not 
Don Reinaldo given me his hand. 

" It will be easier presently," he whispered ; " but, 
indeed, darkness is best till we are well off the plain, so 
that none may track us. When we get among the hills, 
the clouds will break and we will see well enough." 

The ridges stood out against the slaty grey of the 
sky. If you looked long at them, the}' ^became edged 
with a misty aureole, like that which outlines a saint's 
head in old pictures. Then we passed a tall post black 
against the sky. 

"The frontier !" whispered Bino, with some relief. 
" Now we are in France." 

As soon as we had reached the bottom of the bank we 

stopped in a sheltered place, and Don Reinaldo gave a 

short sharp whistle. It was the trysting- 
The Black ^^^^ ^^^^ ^jj ^^^ ^^^ ^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ 

Torre were quickly assembled. Not a word 
was spoken. It was now Don John's business to lead, so 
I was placed behind with Don Reinaldo, while Bifto, 


who also knew the country well, accompanied Don John 
as additional adviser. 

Our pace was not particularly rapid — rather the steady 
going of men who know that they have a long and difficult 
task before them. It was still too dark to see clearly. 
Yet the mountaineers went inevitably on, each as if he 
had been ascending his own staircase to bed. Once we 
seemed to be passing through a deep and narrow defile, 
upon rocks which sounded hollow beneath the feet, while 
far below me I heard the plash of falling water. 

From this gloom we emerged, suddenly, as from a prison 
cell. The moon struggled through fleecy clouds with a 
vague luminous radiance. My alpargatas touched grass, 
gratefully enough, and lo, before us lay the place of our 
quest, the Rochers de Lez — a wide uneven plain on which 
blocks of stone were scattered, of all sizes, from that of a 
man's hand to huge boulders ten and fifteen feet in 
diameter. What a place to play hide and seek in ! That 
was my first thought. And there the packages lay ready 
for the Spaniards. French hands had placed them in 
hiding, but the risk itself must always be run by the men 
of Spain. Labour is cheap south of the Pyrenees — life 

Don John went straight to a tall boulder, squared like 
an obelisk in a cemetery, which stood at the south-west 
corner of the plain. Then he threaded his way back, 
following some intricate key-plan which he had in his 

" Toma ! " he cried, suddenly pointing with his hand, 
" there you are ! " 

The men foraged about among the huddle of stones 
upon which a thin covering of heath and juniper had been 
artistically replaced. Soon our "aifair" lay before us. 
Small square packages of thirty and forty pounds' weight 


each were neatly wrapped up in glazed waterproof cloth. 
Not a moment was now wasted. Don Reinaldo checked 
the number of burdens as each was drawn out of its 

Then the men attached to the corners of each package 
a cross-harness of straps, like those which sustain the 
ruck-sack of the Alps — two broad bands passing bandolier- 
wise across the chest and under the arm-pits. Those 
who made it a point of honour to select the heaviest 
packages had, some of them, L-shaped carrying boards, 
but most mounted the package plainly on the back with 
no other attachment than the broad shoulder-leathers, 
crossed over the breast in grenadier fashion. To me was 
entrusted the smallest and lightest of all the packages — 
jewelry of price, I was told, destined for the best shops of 
Barcelona and Madrid. The larger packages held mostly 
Jura-made watches, smaller leather work, gold and silver 
cigar cases, and all that dainty nick-nackery which is so 
popular in Spain, and of which not one article in ten ever 
pays to the Government the very heavy and indeed pro- 
hibitory duty imposed upon it. 

With this businesslike despatch it was not long before 
every back had its burden, and we were once more on the 
road for Spain. This " run " was a very different affair 
from that of the cavalcade. No arrangement had been 
made, or indeed could be made, with the authorities for 
the passing of a cargo so valuable. And the carbineers, 
old smugglers to a man, would certainly be on the alert 
if they had the least suspicion of what was afoot. 

For me, in spite of my light load, not more than a fifth 
of what the others were carrying, I found the pace quite 
fast enough. 

But Don Reinaldo wished to get through the narrow 
gorge before the light came clearer. It was easy to see 


that the clouds were passing off the face of the moon, and 
that long before our goods were safe in hiding, the whole 
of the mountains would be as bright as day. 

I could hear the heavy and even painful breathing of 
the men as they followed each other up the steep slopes. 
Every five minutes at the worst parts, less frequently else- 
where, the leader would give a sort of guttural " Humph ! " 
Then the exhausted men would lean their loads and them- 
selves against the wall of rock. The moon looked out for 
a moment at one of these halts, and I saw the young 
man's face next to me. It was drawn and haggard. The 
sweat stood in great gouts on his brow, and I could see 
the labouring of his lungs as he panted with shut eyes 
and open mouth. Assuredly this smuggling is no child's 

We passed the dreaded gully in safety, and all breathed 
more freely as the pass opened out. We kept high on 
one side, serpentining among the scattered rocks. The 
moon had again removed herself. There was a growling 
of thunder low down towards the plains of Aragon. The 
storm seemed to be coming in our direction. 

" Some of us will sleep in wet jackets to-night, that is, 
if we sleep at all ! " muttered Bino, who remained beside 
me. Though carrying his share like any of the others, 
the sturdy fellow kept offering to reheve me of mine at 
difficult parts of the road. 

Suddenly Don Reinaldo, who had been leading, threw 

up his hands, and with a muttered " Al ahrigo ! (To 

cover) " he effaced himself behind a boulder. 

So indeed did we all. And not a moment ^. 

T- // n Fire 

too soon. r or " spat — spat — spatter 

came half a dozen bullets against the rocks. Some of 

them buzzed along the hillside like great bees. They 

whistled overhead. They clicked and burrowed like rats 


in the short dense undergrowth, as the facets of the rocks 
turned them aside. But no one of our company was 

"They are over on the other side — lower down!" 
whispered Bino. " Do not be afraid. It is onlj^ playing 
the game. They will do us no harm, but all the same it 
is a mercy the moon is covered. I wish that thunder- 
storm would make haste." 

" Are they Don Cristobal's men ? " I inquired. For I 
thought it might be the deputy to the national Cortes who 
was objecting to our intrusion upon his vested rights of 
breaking the laws he had helped to make. 

"No," said Don John, who lay next on my right, 
" nothing so serious as that — only the silly carbineers. 
Cristobal's men would have had the hill of us by this time, 
and in ten minutes we would have seen their knives 
glancing. But these fellows will just keep firing away 
bullets and wasting good Government powder. They will 
never dare to attack us. All the same it is very stupid — 
very tiresome. One does not want to be recognised. 
And it is much too near Don Cristobal's to think of playing 
cache-cache with our cargo ! " 

After the first surprise of the thought that these bullets 
were fired at us, it was astounding how soon we got used 
to the fusillade in the dark. The Spaniards passed jests 
after their kind, chiefly grumbling because Don Reinaldo 
would not permit cigarettes to be lighted, lest the heath 
and dried grasses of the hillside might be set on fire. 

" In twenty minutes we must make a rush for it — 
bullets or no bullets ! " said Don Reinaldo, " else daylight 
will catch us with the stuff still on our backs ! " 

Very anxiously therefore we watched the clouds pass 
over the moon. But it darkened steadily, and it was not 
five minutes before the first drops of the thunderstorm 



fell, broad as Spanish dollars, plashing solidly in our 
faces. Then with a low sigh of relief, each man adjusted 
his package and stood erect. 

" That will damp the wasps' powder for them ! " said 
Don John. ** I wish old slow-coach Reinaldo there 
would let us just send one volley among them for luck ! " 

But the stoop-shouldered giant was far too steady a 
leader for any child's play of that sort. As the lightning 
began to quaver, flash on quick flash, we could see in the 
pale lilac glare away across on the other side of the valley, 
a file of black figures hastening in the direction of the 
carbineer post. 

" Now, I wonder what they suppose themselves to have 
gained by all that ? " growled Bino in my ear ; " some- 
thing to put in their report, I suppose — * Wonderful 
activity of the carbineers of the district of Aran ! Daring 
attack upon armed partidas concealed among rocks ! The 
contrabandistas dispersed ! ' " 

After this stirring episode, the rest of the journey to 
the old shed, where the packages were finally rubbed dry 
and hidden under heaps of fodder, was certainly 
monotonous. It was one long plodding misery of feeling 
oneself wet to the skin, of plunging on across loose banks 
of slaty debris^ through swamps muddy with the rains, of 
barking shins and stubbing toes against the stumps of 
stone pines half buried in the drift. 

But the ' cache ^ once reached all was soon stowed 

away, and we filed out of the shed, 

. , , dusting the " bits " off our coats, to become 

]*CS DCClcL Die 

once more law-abiding citizens of our 
respective countries. 

** Now," said Don Reinaldo, " we must get down to El 
Seo and constitute ourselves, so to speak." 



In my innocence, I had expected that we would take 
the goods directly back to Torre Toran, or, perhaps, even 
as far as San Severino. But the best smugglers of Spain 
never *' fyle their ain nest." They carry everything in the 
direction of some unfrequented railway-side station, 
whence some trusted member of the fraternity takes the 


whole down to the best markets in Barcelona or Madrid. 
The day is past when the contrahandista was a mere 
stupidly-daring tool in the hands of cleverer men. He 
knows and studies the markets. Though he carries his 
life in his hand, he never risks his skin unnecessarily. 
Generally, he will not fight for his goods against Govern- 
ment troops, though he will stand up fiercely enough 
against raiders of his own kind. He is wise, acute, long- 
suffering, and knows that it is better to abandon one cargo 
than to be marked and known for life by the spies of the 


Excise. At worst, he has to contend with spurts ol 
energy on the parts of new brigadiers, who come to the 
frontier with quite un-Spanish ideas of honesty. But, 


even so, such commanderies as those of San Severino and 
Torre Toran are hardly ever seriously interfered with. 

As we crossed the river for the last time, the early 
sunshine was flooding it mildly through fleecy clouds. 
Being already as wet as we could be, we plunged in reck- 
lessly up to our shoulders, splashing each other like boys 
let loose from school. Yet our clothes were almost dry 
by the time we had got to the summit of the rocks on the 
opposite bank. It was afternoon when the little city 
appeared, as we would say in Scotland " in the lirk of the 
hill," with the clear river washing its apostolic feet. 

In twenty minutes we were at the gate of El Seo. An 


officer of carbineers 
regarded us a little 
curiously as we 
passed. I fancied 
he laid his finger 
against the side of 
his nose, but as to 
this I will not take 
oath in any court of 

"That Thing 
there," growled Don 
John, ungratefully, 
" is the old pig of 
a thousand pigs to 
whom my father had 
to pay a hundred 
duros for leaving the 
Valdez open the 
other night. Praise 
to the saints, he gets 
not so much as one 
' little dog ' * out of 
this night's work ! " 

I wondered which of the saints had our midnigh 
labours under his care — holy Saint Nicholas, I should 
think, the patron saint of all marauding night-hawks. 

As we passed through the sun-bright Plaza of El Seo, a 
boy leaning on a mule, apparently more than half asleep, 
cocked a cunning eye at us and said something in a low 
tone to Don Mark. 

" All right," he whispered, a moment after, " our 
Matthew got through the Valdez safe with all the stuff, 
■'• Perro chico : " little dog " — a half-penny. 



^^hiJhB' 1 




1 ^^ '•^' 



11 /ir 


1- - i 


,jt'- ''^i^^^^^B 



So that old scoundrel of a Brigadier earned his dollars 
after all ! " 

Several of our company went off to the quaint little 
cathedral, but Bino and I sought a quiet Posada, where I 
could get comfortably into bed with a blanket about me, 
while my entire wardrobe dried shamelessly on the balcony 
which gave upon the street. In this guise, with a cup of 
coffee by my side, I smoked the easeful cigarette, and, 
failing any fit priest of my faith, confessed the crimes of 
the past nights — to my diary. 


Sometimes great and wise publishers and yet greater and 

wiser editors show their wisdom by asking me to write a 

book. Sometimes, also, to my sorrow, they 

add, " Write me one like ' The Scarlet Shoe ^^^ Pharaoh 

String ' or * The Rovers.' " Then am I , 

compelled to quarry in the book-bin for 

certain old volumes which, though bearing a name on the 

cover which 1 cannot disavow, seem to have been written 

by somebody dead and buried long ages ago. 

But the wisest of all editors do not so. They know 
that, as one tree differeth from another in stature, so no 
book can, even with (on the author's part) the best will in 
the world, be a replica of any other. Now what these 
wise people ought to say to me at this stage of the 
negotiation is : " Get away as quickly as you can to 
your City of Dream, and don't let us find your person 
blockmg up our editorial staircase — till a great book, a 
true book, a book absolutely unprecedented, has been 
revealed to you. Thus we will assure to ourselves a long 
rest ! " 

And when, having exhibited to them the empty state of 
my pockets by the graphic method of turning them out 


side in, and so having moved them to advance me my 
railway fare, right gladly will I take me off, and — make a 
bee-line for this little city in which, after my double- 
barrelled smuggling trip, I now found myself. 

I will call it El Seo, though that is by no means its 
name. For it contains a cathedral — so diminutive indeed 
that it might be added, say, to Cologne Minster, without 
anybody but the architect and the charwoman discovering 
Ihe difference. It has also a Bishop, passing rich on the 
revenue of the average Scottish minister, who has never 
applied for an " augmentation " — something, that is, on 
the underside of ^200 a year — a Bishop who acts in the 
spirit of his Master, in that he was not ashamed to 
collogue openly with a certain out-at-elbows tramp and 
ex-smuggler who happened to be passing through his 
tiny episcopal city. 

El Seo is my own name for it — this quaint City of 
Dream. But you may scan the rolls of the Arch-diocese 
of Tarragona without being able to locate this smallest 
and most unworldly of cities ecclesiastic. For, lest 
Messrs. Cook and Gaze should know of it, I have both 
photographically and in literary fashion " mixed those 
babies up." Let every man be fully persuaded in his own 
mind as to his own particular City of Dream — but, if he is 
tempted to look for mine, I have taken good care that he 
shall not find it. 

Never did I see so many books ahead of me as in those 
sunny days I spent at El Seo. I drifted about idly, 
irresponsibly, as near Nirvana as any son of Adam can 
expect to find himself this side the " Mouth of Forgetful- 
ness." Morning found me among the faithful in the 
cathedral — aye, almost before the twilight. I had 
wrapped me in a huge Aragonese cloak, swinging it 
knowingly about my throat and mouth, for the ruby mist 


of sunrise in the City of Dream often issues in a most 
undreamlike calentura. 

Then out towards the cathedral by brumous dusky 
streets, where sparse Hghts winked rufescent in cobblers' 
shops, and under arches men still carried lanterns — till, 
coming out suddenly into the open, lo ! the great oleander 
tlower of the dawn seemed to grow upon the cathedral 
tower as on a stalk. Behind that the long level lines of 
the ancient citadel glowed purple and cinnamon. I stood 
watching the momently increasing brightness till the bell 
in the minster turret clanged for matins. Then twenty 
steps through a little square brought me to the cathedral 

Dank smells of yesterday's incense, also some tang of 
the unwashen faithful of many generations, a rich gloom 
everywhere — Indian red dashed with yeUow 
ochre, and through these, the clear sweet t, 1. ^ 
light of a few candles winking deep in the ^ 

chapels. There was no general service. The great altar 
was dark, its unlighted candles mere white bars against 
the denser gloom behind. Only the eastern window had 
begun to blush with vague rich hintings of colour. The 
rest were yet sombre and very lonesome. 

I In little side chapels, here and there, women knelt, and 
priests were beginning to officiate in a heart-healing hush 
of peace. It was beautiful — perhaps the next thing to a 
Scottish communion, and my heart ached within me to 
believe even as these folk about me believed. What a 
simple unmurmuring earnestness there seemed about these 
poor working folk, both men and women of them, kneeling 
at this service of the Breaking Day. And looking at these 
peasants it came to me afresh that it matters hardly at all 
WHAT a man believes. But altogether, solely and only, 
HOW he believes it ! 


And now, since I could not be the solitary being hold- 
ing aloof from the act of worship, I knelt on the cold 
stones at the bar of the chapel nearest the high altar. 
Who, indeed, was I, that I should come out to make of 
these honest folks' worshipping, a travellers' spectacle? 
Let me rather seek to approach to some God of mine own 
or of my fathers. For is it not the root and foundation 
of our Scottish faith that chiefly in the temple which every 
man carries about with him, is the God Unknown to be 
worshipped and his word to be heard ? 

There was in my pocket a little copy of the beautiful 
Desclee et Lefebvre Roman breviary, in two volumes i2mo, 
printed in Belgium and bound in England. Curiously 
enough I had bought it in Tarragona from the cheerful 
shopwoman who sells holy books below the archiepiscopal 
palace. I had carried it ever since in my wanderings, a 
cosmopolitan vade mecum. And now I read in it, by the 
light of the solitary altar candle, while I waited for the 
officiating priest. Something like this it was that I read. 

" God of strong virtues, from whom cometh forth all that 
is best, implant in our hearts the love of thy most excellent 
name " 

Glancing aside when I came to this passage I was con- 
scious of a priest who knelt beside me, pale, white-haired, 
ascetic, in a caped soutane of a faded violet hue, buttoned 
down to his feet. A skull-cap of silk was on his head. 
For one troubled instant our eyes met. Then his regard 
fell upon my open breviary. With an effort he seemed to 
put away vain thoughts. His head bent forward on the 
altar rail, and the service began. 

I thought it strange that none of the country folk should 
come to kneel before this chapel, but judged it to be 
because it was the plainest and the least decorated of all. 
The man in violet and I had it to ourselves. 


What happened after that 1 do not know. It is the 

beauty of the Ancient Way in the lands 

where it still conserves something of living „ f , ,,. \ 

^, , ,, , T Faded Violet 

power, that there you may worship as you 

choose — sit or stand — kneel, or only abide silent. Which- 
ever you choose to do, none will cast an eye in your 
direction, or nudge an elbow saying, '* What doeth that 
PhiHstine ? " 

In my own land and among mine own people if any one 
does not rise and sit down with the multitude, the office- 
bearers promptly bring him a cordial, or suggest that if he 
were to go out and take the air, he would probably feel 
better. But in Spain I might have kneeled all day beneath 
the crucifix and none would even have looked a question. 
It was an affair between me and the Unseen. With the 
bitterness of another's heart it is not good to inter- 

But though I read no more in my breviary, nor opened 
my missal, I had thoughts in my heart somewhat to this 
purport. " Good is it that a man should see all, and know 
all, and try all that is done among all peoples. For * to 
know ' excelleth ' not to know 'as the light the dark. And 
to have walked the way of the mountaineer when he takes 
his life in his hand, to have eaten of his wilderness bread, 
is better than the peculiar treasure of kings. So when a 
man dies, he shall go his unkenned gate a burnished 
weapon, a well-worn tool, unrusted — fit, if need be, for the 
Things that Remain. 

" Yet withal if a man keep not the lowly heart, if he call 
not his sins to judgment, if, in the place of prayers and 
vows he is not vile in his own sight, then indeed he hath 
committed the unpardonable sin, and denied the Spirit that 
strove with him. For assuredly Self-conceit is the sin 
without forgiveness." 


So far had my mind reached out in that dusky place 
towards the things which are the foundation of all, when 
I heard the lesson from the Vulgate, not mumbled as usual 
but clearly read, and I was aware that all the people in the 
little cathedral had turned in our direction. The man in 
faded violet had moved within the bar and was kneeling 
on the steps of the altar with his face sunk in his hands. 
The officiating priest was reading these words : " Do right 
to the widow, judge for the fatherless, give to ihe poor, 
defend the orphan, clothe the naked, heal the broken and 
weak, laugh not a lame man to scorn, defend the maimed, 
and let the blind man come into the sight of My clearness. 
Keep safe the old and young within thy walls. Where- 
soever thou findest the dead take them and bury them, and 
(if thou doest these things) I will give thee the first place 
in my resurrection ! " 

"Amen !" said I, " I am answered. If a man do not 
these things, better for him that he should have no part in 
any resurrection, but be even as the beasts that perish." 

So I went out, having heard what is " true religion and 
undefiled " proclaimed in words older than those of James, 
apostle of the concision. 

I asked the slim silk-capped macero at the door of the 
cathedral, on whose face I thought I saw the flicker of a 
smile, who was the priest in violet who had knelt at the 
uppermost altar. 

" Who but his Eminence the Bishop ? " he answered, a 
little grimly. "It is not every day that the Bishop of El 
Seo has the honour of saying his prayers side by side 
with a " 

He paused : I knew that in his intolerant Spanish heart 
he meant to say " heretic." But the sight of the breviary 
in my hand altered his thought, or at least his spoken word. 

" . . . . With a foreigner 1 " he added, a little lamely. 


It was not yet broad day. The clouds were scattering, 

but they had not scattered. There were 

gUmpses of fresh snow on the mighty ridges ,, ^ 

r ^y n Li-j the Gardener 

01 the Pyrenees behind. 

As I passed along the little Alameda the cathedral of 

El Seo, striking in design though really one of the 


smallest in the world, stood out above the valley mists as 
if built of rose and flame. And I remembered that because 
of this even the Moors had spared it. 

" City of the twelve palm trees,^ sang my heart, as I 
looked at the glorious and flamboyant beauty springing up 
over against me : 

The heathen envied thee ; ^ 

But they were not able to do aught against thee ! 


And I lifted my eyes to the City of Dream, that hung 
like a purple cloud of sunrise against the sky, hardly 
seeming to be of this earth, and the rest of the ancient 
and divine song came into my mind : 

Twelve trees laden with divers fruit 
As many fountains flowing with milk and honey — 
Seven mighty mountains whereon grow roses and lilies, 
By these shall the Lord fill thy children with joy ! 

Then all at once I remembered that it was the Sabbath. 
For when alone in strange lands, and with saints' days 
taking up about one day in three, Sunday is only to be 
located as on Crusoe's island, by severe calculation with 
a notched stick. 

I do not remember how I fed, or where, or on what, 
that first entranced day in the City of Dream. Sometimes 
I saw so many wonderful things before my waking vision 
that I feared I should never have time to write them all 
down. There were children on the street. They played 
at skipping-rope like bairns of other flesh-and-blood lands ; 
but their cries fell on my ears far away and musical as 
bells that ring in dreams. The town cows went out 
making low music, mysterious as those at Ravelston, of 
which "the mourning ghost still keeps the shadowy kine." 
Only I saw these of El Seo go out in the blaze of noon, 
and in the face of the world — that is, if there had been any 
world to see. 

I passed out of the City of Dream by an ancient port 
— half-gate, half hole-in-the-wall. A labourer to whom 
life was clearly no dream, stood staring at my camera 
with his muck-rake in his hand. The City of Dream was 
a city of much labour and scant wages to him. But he 
crossed himself when the eye of the Zeiss lens winked in 
his direction. That at least he knew for a portent of evil. 


Then along 
another Alameda, 
dappled of light 
and shadow, with 
bees humming 
overhead among 
the leaves and on 
the walk beneath 
a gardener who 
was indolently 
trying to light a 
damp heap of 
them. In vain, 
they would not 
blaze. Sleepily 
he searched for a 
match to try 
again. He had 
all day to do it 
in. They were 
doubtless dream 
leaves. The cows 
might eat them, 
they might burn, 
or they might only lie and rot. No man knew which. 
Indeed it was all the same. It was kismet. And, as I 
watched, out of the dim incense-scented gloom of a 
mediaeval Christianity I seemed to enter into the scarce- 
lit spaces of a yet older faith. 

I gave the man a match. He was a Spaniard, yet he 
did not even thank me. He only struck it on his trousers 
and applied it to the leaves. They smoked a little, un- 
cheerfully, and as they never lighted it could not be said 
that they went out. But the man was not discouraged. 



He went and sat down on a stone seat, and rolling a 
cigarette, asked for another match. He had done his best. 
All was as God willed. No, he did not go often to church. 

He did not see 
that it made 
much d i ff e r- 
ence. He was 
a labourer in 
the pay of a 
rich proprie- 
tor. He got 
two duros 
(eight shil- 
lings) a week. 
He did his 
work or it did 
itself. As for 
his master, he 
never came 
near the place. 
He lived in 
Madrid. (Here 
my pessimist 
entered into 
details unne- 
cessary to be 
set down as 
to the method in which the young man spent his portion 
of goods in a far country. It was the one mentioned 
in Scripture.) So long as one let him 
alone the steward cared little, even when 
y, he was sober, and not at all when he 
was drunk. Meantime — what would you ? 
He swept well — none praised him. He left the leaves 



to cumber the paths. None blamed him. In the mean- 
while there was tobacco, and on saints' days a bota of 
wine. His wife was dead — of course, because he had 
wanted her to live. Yes, he had loved her. As it 
happened to the wise man so it happened to the fool. 
He saw no difference. No, his conscience did not ask 
any more of him than that he should spend his wages 
as he made them. And at the last — well, that which 
befalleth a dog befalleth also a man. One grave was as 
comfortable as another. 

" The priests ? " — Ah — bah — he had had service with a 
priest once. It was vain to talk to him of priests. He 
knew. They also sucked the apple when it was ripe, even 
as other men — and why not ? You put a bota of Val-de- 
Penas to a dead man's mouth, will he drink ? Drink then 
while you can, be you priest or porter ! That was my 
sweeper's thought of it. The Bishop ? They said he was 
a good man. The Bishop had spoken to him as he walked 
along his master's walks, reading his priest's book. He 
often came there — a very respectable man and nowise 
proud. The thing might be as they said — but for him, 
since God had taken his wife, the only thing that he had 
ever asked of Him- — well — he had done with God ! If 
the priests spoke true, carat ! — he would not be worse off 
than Father So-and-so and Brother That-Other. All the 
world knew what they were. He had not chick nor child, 
sister, mother, nor wife. For what else then should a man 
work but for himself? What profit was there in his life? 
Let me answer that. 

I had not Spanish enough to confute this new-old 
preacher. Nor if I had possessed all the words of the 
Velasquez, his lexicon, I am not sure that I could. 
Though I would have tried. 

However, it was fated in my kismet book that I should 


have time to bethink me after the adventures of those 
nights on the mountains, when the joy of life bubbled all 
about me like a boiling pot, when human energy reached 
out to match itself with human restriction and enactment, 
chiefly for the pleasure, of the risk. 

I had begun my day with the bending Christian folk in 
the dim cathedral, the hum of prayer, the click of beads 
let fall by the faithful, in hopes that by their continual 
dropping they might wear the pavement of heaven. Then 
I had come on a gardener — of Adam's ancient trade and 
possibly also of the first man's most ancient faith. So 
now by the wayside I met yet another philosopher, with 
a scheme of his own — a philosopher with long ears, the 
longest I had ever seen manifest upon philosophic head. 

He was a donkey who had broken his tether. He had 
found a good bank of grass, fenced about with succulent 
reed, enduring bedstraw, and spiced with the thistle of 
his ancestors. He had all at command. His sides 
were plump with the fulness of them. The clear water 
of a canal was on the other side of the way to drink from 
when he was athirst. Cudgel had thwacked his sides, 
and would do so again. But he had forgotten the past 
and had never learned to forecast the future, wherein he 
was the better philosopher. His mind to him a king- 
dom was — the realm of the present. It was shut in by 
twitch grass, barriered by ground ivy, and down the long 
vista which is futurity he would see only infinite thistle 
and infinite wild teasle. Death — he had never even heard 
of that. He had, indeed, seen things that lay still — things 
that the futile Two-legged put into deep holes. But these 
were only asleep, and too wise to waken. Besides, the 
like would never happen to him. No such luck, indeed ! 
He had to be roused up that his panniers might be placed 
astride his back, and sometimes his master would mount 



up behind — but why think of such things ? Had he yet 
eaten all the thistles^ No ? What was that large Two- 
legged doing, standing before him with a black box under 
its arm ? Was there 
corn in that box — 
anything to eat ? No ? 
What then did the 
Two-legged mean by 
taking up a philoso- 
pher's time ? On- 
ward then — thistles 
in front of him, 
thistles to right of 
him, thistles to left 
of him, thistles within 
him ! Worlds and 
worlds of thistles 
without end ! Amen ! 

And perhaps I had 
now happened upon 
the oldest religion of 
all — at any rate, that 
which is still the 

But in so brave a 
world it v/as time to 
get back to life and 
— my own thistles. 

For are there not dream thistles also? 
City of Dream is only one particular 
thistle which seems to me sweeter than 
all the others. 

I was soon on the banks of the river 
— a still sweetly-flowing river, most un-Spanish-Iooking, 


Perhaps the 

of Thistles 


full from bank to bank with the melting of the fresh 
snow on the mountains, a little drumly certainly from 
the caving banks further up, but in the main quiet and 
large and purposeful. Only, happily, there was nothing 
for it to do in or about this City of Dream — no mills 
to turn, no paper to wash, no power to generate. A few 
women, constant at their scrubbing-boards, made with 
their tongues, sufficiently far off, a pleasant clatter ot 
sound. Otherwise merely silence and the wash of water. 

Crossing an ancient bridge I found myself upon a 
deserted river bank — long alleys of white poplars, here 
and there a rough wooden seat. There was a sparkle of 
light through the leaves, a sudden coolness, then a running 
wave of silver as the wind flashed their undersides into 
view. No old-world glooms, or death-in-life philosophies 
here, but wind and earth and water making merry as of 
old, after the fashion the Greeks knew for the Way of 
the Gods. 

Two men seated under the shade looked inquiringly at 
my camera and at me, but I had had enough of my species 
for one day. They might be philosophers, or preachers in 
disguise, or only plain-song donkeys. At any rate, I 
gave them a wide berth, including them, however, in my 
picture to show that there were others as idle as I that 
day in the precincts of the City of Dream. 

Then I sat down and dreamed undisguisedly in an open 
glade, looking across at the battlemented castle, seen over 
a foreground of river reeds and tall oleander tufts. From 
here El Seo seemed more dreamlike than ever, a '* rose- 
red city half as old as time," passing mysterious in the 
sweet open silence of the forenoon — the river sheeted 
silver at its feet, and the sky of a full and perfect blue 
above. Actual larks were singing above the meadow- 
flats. I might have been in Scotland, save for the rosy 





Legacy of 
the Moor 

towers of the cathedral, the cinnamon-coloured soil, and 
the untouched bloom of antiquity which was upon every 
work of man that I could see. 

Ah, these strange contrasts of Spain ! Who that 
hath seen remembers not the arid dusty city with its 
wondrous opaline hues — the parched brick- 
yard about the gates — then a sudden plunge 
into a valley, the gleam of silver, the rustle 
of trees — 3'ou look about, and lo ! you might 
be in England. 

What makes the difference? Water — only water. The 
Spaniards have lost or thrown away most of their old 
Moorish legacy, but this they have kept. They under- 
stand the art of irrigation. That little three-foot wide 
canal, draining the river more remorselessly than the 
wisest sangrador ever let loose from Salamanca, made to 
grow the crops over yonder that are already ripe and 



harvested, though to English notions it is yet the spring- 
time of the year. Even as I sit the breeze from the north 
strikes cool, and like a flash the rows of dusky willows 
turn silver-grey, and the larks are blown about the sky on 
a wandering wind-gust from the gorges behind — some 
back-swirl doubtless of the long unwearying mistral of 
Provence which is now breaking itself in vain against the 
barrier of the Pyrenees. 

The breeze is grateful, so grateful that while it lasts I 
climb back again to the plateau on which stands the 
citadel, complete outwardly to the eye, but in reality a 
mere shell, with a few companies of artillerymen camping 
in one corner of its vast and ruinous buildings — sans 
ammunition, sans guns, sans everything except ill-kept 
uniforms and unlimited time in which to smoke cigarettes. 
How different these fellows are from the Guardias Civiles 



in their smart uniforms, as spick and span as though they 
put them on fresh and fresh every morning. But indeed 
it was' an evil time for soldiering in Spain. Cuba was 
daily costing the lives of her best and bravest, ground be- 
tween the millstones of an evil past and an effete present. 
I doubt not that these two score of poor lads were glad 
enough to be left to rough it in the quietest corner of the 
old castle of El Seo. Far from railways, with the War 
Office administration at Madrid in a state of senile collapse, 
I question if anybody even thought of them. They were 
certainly forgotten at El Seo. Nor did they in the least 
desire to be remembered. They blew no trumpets. They 
fired no sunset gun. The very sentry at the entrance 
betook himself within when he saw a visitor approach- 
ing. The door was shut, and had you been the com- 
mander-in-chief himself {especially if you had been the 
commander-in-chief) there would have been for you no 

Back into the town again ! I had been afoot so early 
that it was still only shaking itself awake. My matutinal 
friends of the dusky cathedral were doubtless but work- 
people and countrywomen come in to market. For natu- 
rally the City of Dream lies long abed. Even at ten 
o'-the-clock they were only sweeping the cigar-ends out of 
last night's cafes. The boys who did it were rubbing their 
eyes. And small wonder, for three in the morning had 
not seen them in their beds. The arcades of the streets 
were still invincibly gloomy. The morning puddles had 
not yet dried in the gutters, and by more than one sense a 
stranger was informed that in the City of Dream all was 
not illusion. 

But still the enchantment held, in spite of odours quasi- 
mediaeval. One could not proceed a score of yards without 
coming on a wooden overhanging balcony, a reach of 



brilliantly coloured tiles, a Moorish courtyard, or a 
charming characteristic group seated by the wayside. 

Generally the younger women, if such there were, put 
up their hands to their faces or fled (not to the willows) 
with shrieks of simulated laughter. For the younger 
generation of Spain, even in the City of Dream, knows 


very well what a camera is. Though, as I think, mine 
was the first of English make that had ever penetrated 

But it was otherwise with the elders. Sometimes an 
old woman would cross herself hastily, muttering the 
while, lest the black box should contain some imp of mis- 
chief. Mostly, however, they sat sternly sober, calm as 
mothers in Israel in the presence of unknown bewitch- 
ments. It would not do to tell them first that they were 
being photographed, still less to ask their permission, at 
least not before the shutter clicked. That must wait. But, 


once done, a 
courte ous 
word, a lift of 
the hat, a 
smile, worked 
their way in 
the City of 
Dream as else- 
where through- 
out the world. 
It was early 
afternoon be- 
fore the sleepy 
streets awoke 
a little. Not 
that El Seo 
became even 
then any less 
a City of 
Dream. In- 
deed, I think 
its afternoon 
mood was perhaps the most dreamlike of all. The sun was 
still high, and had at last vanquished the morning haze. 
Every particle of mist had been chased away. Heat and 
light filled the narrow streets as water fills a jug. All was 
a feast of colour — ^the many coloured hangings, the striped 
awnings, the bright print dresses of the girls at the street 
corners, the red and white Tam-o'-shanters of the boys 
(mere imps of darkness, they!) made up a scene like some 
old untheatric fairyland — pernaps that which one imagined 
long ago couched in the corner of the garret over a first 
entrancing perusal of Sinbad the Sailor. 

To my good henchman, Bifio, El Seo was not in the 




least a City of Dream — unless, that is, the excellent fellow 

dreamed while he slept. He had been up 

^ ° betimes to make a cup of coffee, but when 

„.l he brought it he had appeared so "dozen" 

Bino . , . , , , , T 1 J 1 • 

. , with interrupted slumber that 1 ordered him 

instanter back to bed. He was still asleep 
when I peeped in upon him at noon, but when I returned 
for some fresh "Edward's" films he had vanished, and it 
need not be said (to those who know a Spanish posadd) 
that no one in the house had the least idea where he had 
gone. Now I had never asked Bino any questions as to 
his family affairs. I knew, of course, that he had a family 
— a father, brothers, but he was naturally as well as racially 
reticent, and I had put no questions to him as to his im- 
mediate state, married or single. He had, however, given 
me the idea of a man who cared little about women. So 
far as I knew he twanged his guitar admirably, but ex- 
clusively in male society. He had been only distantly 
polite to Dona Carmen at San Severino, but that might 
proceed from a consciousness of difference of station. He 
had abused Don John for a young fool — a colt unhaltered, 
on account of his night-running adventures. But now, 
looking from the window of the comedor, while waiting one 
of trie tardive meals of Spain, I saw Bino, bareheaded, in 
his blouse and sandals, carrying water for a tall peasant 

My Dream City had taken on reality for one person, at 
least. Without spying upon my friend I took occasion to 
sit on the side of the table, which, through a window, gave 
me a vista of the little fountain. Something, it appeared, 
had stopped the flow, whereupon handy Bino went off at 
once to a plumber's shop, and, borrowing a tool, restored 
the water to its channel. That was the French blood in 
him. A Spaniard would have waited (that is, the average 



Spaniard) till the municipality, being moved by resolution 
had acted in the matter — and meanwhile all the women 
would contentedly have gone a quarter of a mile further 
on and waited their turn at the next fountain. But Bino 
wasted no time. As he worked he talked, and I could see 
the girl smile responsively. It was an idyll — or at least 
the opening page of one. 

Still more idyllic was it when, the pitchers being filled 
to the brim (indeed absent-mindedly to the overflowing), 
Bino took them up and strode off with them round the 
corner of the street, the girl walking quietly enough by his 
side and looking up in his face as they went. Such 
brazen resolution in the face of very day I had never seen 
in Spain. It also must have come from the Ariege, where 
on fete days you can still see the Gothic blood pink on the 
cheeks and blond in the hair of the peasant folk. 

At this I laughed softly to myself, and looked up pro- 
verbial phrases out of Don Quijote and the dictionary 
wherewith to tease my companion upon his entrance, not 
knowing that in -a little while I should have quite other 
matters on my mind. For at that moment Pablo, the 
generally invisible factotum of the posada, burst in upon 
me with a rush, as one who would say, " Flee, my lord, 
the bailiffs are upon you ! " 

" There is an officer in waiting," he cried, " with 

an equipaje ! " 

I could not for the moment make out 

„ ^ . ' whether he meant " equipage " or " bag- 
tne carnage ,, , . , . r^ . T 

•f !»' g^gs- Ii^ either case it was sufficiently 

alarming. For I had no luggage of any kind 

nearer than San Severino, and any officer " with an 

equipage " must certainly have arrived at the Posada of 

the Sun for the purpose of conveying a certain ex-smuggler 

to prison ! 




But no ! The equipage was of the true ancient 
Spanish sort. It was no prison van. A noble coche it 
proved to be, harnessed to a couple of mules by the 
collars. Steps of wrought-iron depended from the sides, 
while the dreaded ** officer " proved to be the very 
functionary whom I had seen and spoken with that 
morning at the cathedral door. Judging by its size the 
coach ought to have been drawn by six mules instead of 
two, but as I had never yet seen any road in the vicinity 
of El Seo practicable for wheels, I judged that the journey 
could not be a long one. But the visit of the one coach 
in the town to the humble Posada of the Sun was not 
without its effect on the neighbourhood. My stock of 
credit, previously low, went up on the moment. Heads 
protruded from every neighbouring window, and as I 
stood on the doorstep opening the large square envelope, 
my threadbare grey tweed suit, which had hardly gained 
me admission yesterday, still dripping after my recent 
passage of the river, must have seemed transfigured. The 
Amo of the Posada del Sol himself came bowing to the 
door. He had, it seemed, been entertaining angels 

My letter was no less than an invitation from the Bishop 
for the English Senor to visit him ! I stood in a quandary. 
I could not refuse a dignitary of the Church, and yet — I 
glanced down at my attire. Like Huckleberry Finn of 
affectionate memory, I felt that I was not ** dressed 
fittin'." But at this moment Bino came in sight, having 
at the thunderous alarm of the equipaje made a hasty end 
of his water-carrying. To him, forgetting the witty 
sentences I had prepared for the occasion, I propounded 
my difficulty. 

" Go," he said, " very likely it is the suit of clothes he 
wishes chiefly to see." 


This could not be called flattering, but it was certainly 
reassuring. Excusing myself to the macero in the cocked 
hat, I ran upstairs hastily and made what toilet I could. 
Luckily I had bought a clean collar in the town, so with 
hair in order and my coat buttoned, what linen I had 
secured with a safety pin, I presented at least the upper 
half of a fairly respectable appearance. But there was no 
help for the alpargatas. They had to act as dress shoes 
on this occasion, for the good reason that I possessed no 
others, nor were there any of my size in that town. A 
pair of pocket scissors, used freely to trim the fringes 
from the lower extremities of my trousers, gave a final (and 
necessary) touch of elegance to my appearance. My 
checked tweed cap was certainly not respectable, for it had 
been used to lift hot pannikins off the fire, to hold frying- 
pans in the blaze, to clean pens, and to perform other 
menial offices. I therefore kept the man-of-office waiting 
while I darted into the nearest shop and procured a more 
respectable hat, in which, however, had I appeared in the 
Strand or Fleet Street, I should immediately have found 
myself arrested for the most dangerous of anarchists. 
But all's well that ends well ! The severe correctness and 
dignity of the final result won a nod even from the official 
beadle and coachman of El Seo. 

The Bishop, it seems, was not at his town residence, 
but at his country house, an old monastery in which, by 
grace of the Government, he had been permitted to furnish 
a few rooms in the plainest fashion. It was by the river- 
side, and a little winding path mounted behind it which 
led up to the ruined citadel of El Seo. 

The honour of the Bishop's coach at my service was 
doubtless a great one, but certainly it would have been 
vastly more comfortable to have gone that distance upon 
my feet. For the pavements of El Seo were but ill 


adapted for vehicles, while the river road alternated be- 
tween torrent bed and slough of despond. The bridge, 
however, was a fine one with two noble arches, and the 
walls of the old convent rose immediately beyond. 

The coach drove into the courtyard and stopped. I 
got out and stood on the clean cold cloisters more ashamed 
of my appearance than ever. I was buttoned up to the 
neck, precisely like those shirtless gentlemen who solicit 
a temporary half-crown loan at street corners, and I pre- 
sented the same mean and slinking appearance. I was 
glad, however, that my hair, at least, was uncompromis- 
ingly long. At least I was free from that suspicion. But 
I had no great while to wait. There, a ta door which gave a 
glimpse of garden greenery beyond, stood the Bishop of 
El Seo. He was wrapped about in a great cloak, though 
the day was now warm, and in the sun even hot. 

" I bid you welcome to La Delicia," he said, in good 

English. And then, seeing my astonishment, he added 

. smiling, " I have resided in your country — 

, ^, }^ long ago, in the time of the troubles." 
of El Seo T .1- t. 1 J 1 1 1 1 . 

In another moment he had held out his 

hand to me, which, remembering what I had heard of the 

respect due to great ecclesiastics in Spain, I would have 

stooped to kiss. But he repeated, smiling, " I have been in 

England — and I prefer your * shake-hand ! ' " 

In a few minutes we were walking confidentially to- 
gether in the old monastery garden, part of which the 
Bishop cultivated, working there sometimes with his own 
hands, though the greater part was still a tangle of weeds, 
roses, and clambering vines rising almost breast-high, 
right to the walls of the cloister. 

The Bishop of El Seo as I now saw him was a man of 
seventy, but save when much wearied or troubled, his 
brightness of eye and the vivacity of his speech betokened 


a much younger man. Nevertheless the care with which 
he sat down on the benches, and the little stiff hitch with 
which he raised himself again, advertised the man well 
stricken in years. 

It was not long before the Bishop of El Seo opened 
the campaign. 

"You were in the cathedral this morning?" he said, 
gently leaning his hand on my arm as we walked. 

I nodded without speech. I knew what was coming. 

" You are of the Faith ? " he went on, a little tremu- 

" Of the Faith, but not of the Church ! " said I. The 
hand on my arm fluttered. The Bishop sighed a low 
gentle sigh. I think he had hoped against hope, knowing 
me of the English nation. 

" But 3'ou had our Book ? " he continued, gently 
querulous, almost reproachful. "You kneeled at our 
service ? " 

" It is a good book," I said, " and it is good to kneel, if 
so be the heart kneel also. There is but one God ! " 

He bowed his head. Under the heavy black cloak the 

fingers of his other hand were busy with his beads — or 

mayhap with his crucifix. Was he at prayer for the 

heretic, this gentle Bishop ? " 

»,f, ! "One God," he said sweetly with a 

Allah ! , , .,.,., . ., , 

gentle childlike intonation, "yes, there is 

one God, but who knows the Way to Him ? Is it not 
better to trust Holy Church ? " 

I was silent. I knew that he spoke much more to him- 
self than to me. But he was in no wise offended, for he 
leaned more and more heavily on my arm. We were 
following a little path amid euphorbias and ilex oaks, a 
path which led upward to a point of rock pleasantly 
carpeted with juniper, close-set with little green balls, 


from which we looked down on one side upon the build- 
ings of the old convent, and away to the left to the in- 
dented sky-line of El Seo, its Cathedral, citadel, and high- 
piled town. 

The Bishop was breathless when we reached the little 
rustic seat. He smiled up at me as he sank down, press- 
ing his hand to his side. 

"An old man," he said, "aye, an old man! I 
come not here often, only when I have a stranger. 
For this is our peculiar treasure — the delight of La 
Delicia ! " 

Then his thoughts reverted to the Breviary. 

" And you read our book ? Strange — and yet withal 
you believe it not — still stranger ! " 

" My father," I said, " I read it with reverence, not as 
a task but because it is a good book, loving and true — 
a book of books." 

"Ah," he said, looking through the dwarf poplars to 
where the old bell of the monastery, which had so often 
called the faithful to prayers, now hung rusty and silent in 
its open tower, "when I was young, for a little time I 
thought, like you, to pick and choose. Now I am wiser. 
Once I possessed one of your English Bibles. I looked 
often therein. I read it, fearing greatly, and, truth 
to tell, I saw nothing wrong. But that was my ignor- 
ance, for our Holy Church condemned it — so — I parted 
with it." 

" Let me send you another — bound Hke the Breviary 
you saw this morning ! You are a Bishop now and can 
decide for yourself ! " 

I could see the good simple prelate hang a moment on 
the apex of a temptation. Then he shook his head. 

" I thank you," he said ; " in a way you are right. No 
book would do harm to so old a man ; but to conceal it 
would hurt my heart ! Yet — your English leather bind- 


ing is certainly very beautiful — soft as silk. We have 
none like it." 

His fingers worked as it caressing a book. I noted 
the action, and my heart made a resolve. If he would not 
have a Bible he should at least possess a binding. I 


knew that "purring" movement of the fingers of the true 
book-lover. The Oxford-bound Breviary would never 
quit El Seo. So much was clear to me. 

"You are of Scotland," he continued; " I thought (he 
hesitated, anxious not give offence) that the type of re- 
ligion there was hard and cold." 

" My father," I said, seeking how best to answer him, 
"it is not hid from you that religion is not 
a thing of the nation but of the individual. 
As to that, are there not hearts warm and 
hearts cold — even in Spain ? " 

He shook his head gently and pensively. " Ah, many. 


Hearts and 



many are the cold hearts in Spain. Many, even in Holy 
Church, seek only things of earth ! " 

" So," said I, " is it in Scotland — so also throughout the 
world. Yet better is any religion than none. For even 
weak ones and loolish ones may walk with feet that 
stumble, yet with eyes that look upward." 

He caught my meaning:, and nodding his head, inter- 
preted it after his own fashion. " ' Tu es Petrus^ " he said. 
** ' Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona — sinner, liar, blas- 
phemer — yet, because thou didst repent, on thee shall I 
build my church.' There is more hope for a great sinner 
than for the man just in his own sight." 

Again he crossed himself, resting with closed eyes for 
a moment. His gentle face, full of a generous refinement, 
was turned away from me. I felt that it was good to be 
in the presence of a man " on terms with his God," as the 
old Covenanters would have said. To give him time, I 
walked to the parapet and stood looking down on the 
ruined monastery of La Delicia. I could see the exact 
spot where the Bishop's attempt at cultivation had 
stopped. The rest of the pleasance was weedy, over- 
grown, broken-down. But at my feet there was a patch 
sweet and clean, of a simple usefulness, like the man 
himself — whose work was on the earth and whose hope 
in the heavens. 

Good is it for a man to stand with his hat off in the 
presence of that which he knows to be better than himself, 
to salute with what of reverence is in him, unworldly aims, 
simple apostolic life. It was good to stand and see what 
true religion and undefiled can do — in every land and 
under all creeds. The Roman prelate reminded me of 
certain I had known in Scotland — poor contented minis- 
ters, continually zealous of good works. He made me 
think of Cameronian herds on Galloway hills, men who 


abhorred the very name of Rome, yet who, with the Bishop 
of El Seo, " had a firm grip upon the fundamentals." This 
man's Chief End was certainly to glorify God and to keep 
himself unspotted from the world — his sufficient work to 
visit the village priests throughout his remote little diocese, 
and to bless the children that were brought to him. What 
more happy life or more Christ-like than that of the 
Catholic Bishop of El Seo ! I had met a good man who 
believed his creed, who acted out his preaching to the 
letter. Laus Deo ! The salt of the earth hath not yet 
lost its savour, and not all men have ceased to hear the 
still small voice. 

Presently the Bishop called me to him. He had 
returned to certain practical matters which had been 
troubling him. 

" How is it," he asked, " that you can see and respect 

the things that are good amongst us, yet your country, 

men have spoken so much evil of the 

Church Catholic in Spain ? Oh (he con- ^ ^ 

,. J . • \ T 1 J Countrymen 

tinned, seeing my surprise), 1 have read ' 

your books — as I say, when I was younger. Even now 

I remember the book of the adventures of * Don Jorge ' ! " 

" Borrow," said I, with a sudden flash of something like 
religious enthusiasm (of the literary sort), " you have read 
Borrow ? " 

It had not struck me before that there were two 
points of view, equally tenable, as to " The Bible in 

The Bishop nodded. I tried to reassure him. "You 
must not mind what good old Borrow says," I urged. 
" There are few institutions in his own land of which he 
did not speak as hard things as ever he said of the 
Spanish Church Catholic. When Don Jorge had a 
stick in his hand, and saw a head before him, his rule 


was to hit it — and afterwards to inquire to whom it 

" Then," continued the Bishop, " there was one who 
wrote a book of many journeyings in our country — a good 
book, a true book, as to things that are seen — one Don 
Richard Ford. I have remembered his name exactly. 
And he spoke evil of our saints and our ceremonies, find- 
ing them all pagan and unchristian, even as the saturnalia 
of heathen Rome ! " 

I had to admit that this, to a certain extent, was true 
also. But I assured the Bishop that Mr. Ford had come 
to Spain so filled with classic lore and tradition, that he 
was ready to see what he looked for. 

" If Mr. Ford had been a student of the Moslem litera- 
ture instead of a classical scholar," I went on, " he would 
have seen, what is indeed much more apparent, traces of 
the Moors everywhere throughout Spain ! " 

The Bishop looked up quickly, a " gleg " and quizzical 
light glinting in his dark eyes. 

" Ah," he said, " and is that your theory ? Will you, 
when you come to write a book on our poor land, find that 
everything with the true Iberian borrackera —everything 
that tastes of the right Spanish wine-skin, is but the 
leavings of the Moro, the scouring of the pots of El 
Islam ? " 

Again 1 reassured him, and he became again gently 
pensive, which was his proper mood ; but the doubtful 
humour of controversy did not wholly leave him for some 

" You will tell them of my carriage, doubtless ? " he 
questioned, "you will set that down to the desire for 
display of a Spanish Bishop. It is true, in the days 
before Mendizabal, my predecessors drove six snow- 
white mules in that same coach, whereas I am glad of 


two. And I would be yet gladder if I could make fire- 
wood of it altogether. But the good people of El Seo 
would not hold me for a true Bishop if I did. They 
would pull off my ring and throw my crozier behind the 
fire, if they saw me sally forth on festival days without 
my coach. So I have to keep it, but indeed and indeed it 
costs little. For Baltasar, the beadle of the cathedral, 
drives it, and there is enough good mule-feed in the 
garden of La Delicia for a full grandee's team, instead of 
my poor two ! " 

I reassured him as to my intentions, and said that if 
ever I should write a book about Spain, I would deal 
most tenderly both with his episcopal carriage and with 
the Church in Spain — which indeed I think I have done, 
especially with the former. 

We went down presently, and there on the plain deal 
table of the refectory, scoured speckless, but without 
covering of linen, was served a humble repast of wheaten 
bread and herbs and honey. In my favour a pottle of 
wine was added. I could see the versatile Baltasar 
watching surreptitiously from a distant doorway to make 
sure that we found all in order. 

We sat and chatted pleasantly, now in English and now 
in French, eking out any misunderstanding with a Spanish 
or Latin word, but on the whole comprehending each other 
very well. The good man was greatly interested in my 
hand-camera, and especially so when I assured him that 
it was made by a friend of mine, a Spaniard of Valladolid, 
at present living in London. He was eager to see speci- 
mens of its art, and enthusiastic as to the uses which 
might be made of the strange contrivance, so easily carried 
and so clear in the results — as he remarked judiciously, 
" far above painting." 

" For in painting with a brush," he commented naively. 


"I can never see the resemblance. But with the photo- 
graph it is different. Even Baltasar there 
could recognise a picture of his own cathe- 

_ , , dral. With pictures made by hand, not so 

Brush-work , . ,.^ , , , „ 

— that IS difficult even to an educated man. 

Luckily I had with me a few prints of Poblet, RipoU, 
Montblanch, and other holy places of Spain. These 
interested him, but not nearly so much as a series of 
children romping knee-deep in flowers in Scottish 
meadows. I could see his eye brighten. The last of all 
showed a little maid munching a biscuit on a winter's day, 
muffled to the neck in fur, the snow flecking her boots 
and lying in the folds of her gaiters. This took his fancy 

He returned to it again and again, and when I was put- 
ting them up in their case I found him with that picture 
still in his hand. Whereupon I offered it to him, and, 
since you must always press anything on a Spaniard if 
you really wish him to accept it, I offered it twice and 
thrice, I could easily make another, I said. Half he was 
in the mind to accept. I saw the yielding on his face. 

But he put it away finally with the gentlest possible 
negation of head and hand. 

" No," he said, " I am an old man — and — my thoughts 
must be of the things that yet remain to be accomplished." 

He bade me good-bye on the outer step of the little door 
of La Delicia, bending and kissing me on either cheek. 

" Let me look once more at your little vScottish girl," 

he said, as if with an after-thought, " she who smiles 

because her cake is sweet. Ah," (he cried, 
A Little 

taking the picture in his hands, with a 

„ . - caressing delicacy), " may the Bread of Life 

be sweet also to her soul ! " 

He looked long at it. I cannot tell what old buried 


thoughts were fragrant in his own at that moment. I did 
not look carefully at his eyes. Of his own accord he 
put the picture back in the packet with a sigh. Then, 
turning, he gave me his final blessing. 

There was no coach this time. I think the Bishop had 
forgotten, for I saw Baltasar running furiously in the 
direction of the stable. But I had no wish to be over- 
taken or to rumble through the streets after the two 
mules. So I turned me aside up the hill which rose 
steeply behind La Delicia, and scrambled back to the 
town by the goat's path which led along the ancient 
fortifications, now crumbling and desolate. There were 
thoughts in my heart which I wanted to think out. For 
it is not every day that, all unexpectedly, in the hither 
and thither of the adventurer's life, one meets an altogether 
gentle gentleman — the fine flower of true religion and 

At the hill-top I sat and looked long at the gardens of 
La Delicia. I could see the figure of the Bishop walking 
slowly up and down the one cleared path, his hands 
behind his back, his head bent. At times he stopped, 
and taking something out of his breast he held it to 
his lips. 

Perhaps it was the crucifix. Perhaps not. At all events 
I wondered what the picture of a little child, one whom he 
had never seen, had to do with it. 

This is a brief adventure, yet I can write no more to- 
night. I do not wish to mix the outer world with my 
memories of the truly holy and reverend father in God, 
Armandus, once Bishop of El Seo, in the arch-diocese of 

It was the Sabbath evening, and I felt that no strictest 
Calvinist could take up his testimony against me for mis- 
spending it. From the charitable I had learned charity. 


I had walked with one who ordered his conversation 
aright, and who, as a reward, had seen the salvation of 
God. A man, a sinner, had walked with the godly, under- 
neath trees planted by rivers of waters. And lo ! the 
sweetest and most heavenly thing we had seen together- 
that day, was the smile upon the face of a little child. 




After the romantic guilt of smuggling, easy was the 
descent to mere strolling and vagabondage. 
But then, in the Spains, no man is thought 
the less of for being, as we say in Scot- 
land, a " solicitor." The expression " you beggar " has 
almost its play- 
ful English 
sense. There 
is, in addition, 
that universal 
Spanish broth- 
erhood in aris- 
tocracy which 
they express in 
the proverb, 
** Call no man 
dog, lest one 
day the dog 
bite you ! " 

So, having 
sojourns in neither mendicant nor beggar 


the Pyreneean country, obtained some introduction to that 
highly respectable and respected class — the United Society 
of Beggars and Bettellers trafficking in the Spains — I was 
not in the least surprised to hear Bifio, when I asked him 
as to his prospective bride and father-in-law, answer with- 
out constraint and without shame, "He is a travelling 
merchant. No, neither mendicant nor yet suppliant — as 
the Senor might misunderstand. For Rodil possesses a 
waggon of his own— and his mule is an excellent one — of 
the true mouse-colour." 

" And you, Bifio," I said, to try him, ** who are a house- 
holder in two countries, can it be that you are taken with 
the daughter of a — travelling merchant ? " 

I repeated his word, and it was perhaps well that I did 
so, because Bifio was a proud man and a stickler for the 
distinctions. He shrugged his shoulders. * 

"What would you ? " he said, "when a fish is caught, 
what matters whether the line be twisted of hemp or of 
silken cord ? " 

" And do you mean to marry the lady ? " I hazarded. 

"That depends," said Biiio; "I have it in my mind 
that I will travel some time in their company. I will 
observe this girl. If she be sage — or at least sage enough 
for me, assuredly I will wed her. You are surprised ? " 

" But of all this I have heard nothing 1 " 

. "Nor hath any other!" he cried, "not 

even I myself. Indeed I am astonished 
that your honour should have been so well 
informed as to my liking for the maid." 

Without answering in words I showed him a rough, 
untoned print, and he cried out in wonder. It was that 
of himself and his ladylove leaving the little fountain 
opposite the Fonda in El Seo. 

" I know many things," he said ; " but this is enchant- 



ment. Even so did I carry her water-pots while she 
walked a little behind ! I will go now and show it to 
Marinessia (I spell by ear), and also to her father, who is 
a wise man — fit to be governor of a province ! " 

It is worth noting here that Marinessia is the Basque 
corruption for Maria Ignacia, and a popular name. Now 
I shall have much to say of Marinessia, but of Rodil, her 
father, infinitely more. It was true, as I found, what 
Bino had said — his father-in-law's company was far to be 
preferred to that of the governor of any province. 

For Rodil was no mere ganger of roads. He was in 
his way a capitalist, owning a waggon, blue-tilted, capa- 
cious, from which rolls of cloth could be 
^ ^^ ^ extracted, with silks and cheap jewellery, all 
done up in mysterious waterproof packages 
— indeed all the paraphernalia of a regular smugglers' 
receiver upon his travels. In addition Rodil had a 
daughter, who, however, did not often travel with the 
outfit, that Marinessia for whose sake our Bino had 
become a water-carrier. Rodil had also a wife, Concep- 
cion, and a son, Tobalito, more frequently referred to as 
Penique, or " the Copper." But in spite of all these 
possessions Rodil would very frequently leave the other 
members of his family to run the main establishment 
alone, while he went off by himself, his pockets filled to 
bursting with Geneva watches and crucifixes of unmarked 
silver and unguaranteed ebony to " bettle " and barter it 
cross country towards a prearranged rendez-vous. 

It was on such occasions that I found his acquaintance 
to be of the greatest advantage. Bino's description set 
my soul instantly in a flame. I coveted my neighbour's 
beggar. No one had ever made an intimate study oi 
North Spanish vagrancy. Even the excellent " Vagabond 
in Spain " vagabondised much further to the south and 


west, while the beggar of Ford, with his open sores, ampu- 
tations, and long filthy beard, is out of date in the north 
to-day — except perhaps in the vicinity of the Shrine 
of our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, or painfully climbing 
the mountain of Montserrat about the time of the great 
September pilgrimage. Indeed in the vicinity of such 
very holy places he has existed unchanged from the days 
of Martial. He was the Tartuffe of Domitian's temples, 
and he remains the pest and scourge of the shrines of 
Spain unto this day. To quote a very ancient record : 
" No poverty or needy toil compels him to live thus. 
The sheep (his neighbour's) gives him a fleece. The 
field gives him corn. His horse approves thereof. What 
need of a house for him ? It is only to be entered on rare 
occasions." Or again : " See in the porch of Domitian's 
new temple of wisdom — yes, yonder old man ! ' Reverend,* 
say you ? Why, so he is, if a wallet and a staff, hair like 
a door-mat, a beard of which the less said the better, a 
sad-coloured cloak descending to his heels, and a crowd 
that gives him alms to be rid of him, make a man holy ! 
A Cynic, say you ? I own it, but I am closer to the word 
than you — a dog^ say I ! " 

But Bino's introduction of his prospective kinsman soon 
proved him to be of another stamp from such ancient 
props and parasites of church porches. 

" Senor," he said, " this is my friend concerning whom 
I spake. Don Buenaventura Rodil y Alva is his name ; 
but he will be well content if, after the first time, you call 
him Rodil ! " 

So in obedience to Bino's hint, I greeted the nobleman 
upon his travels with what courtesy I was master of. 
And such was his dignity of manner and the solidity of 
his character and conversation, that I never felt the least 
desire to treat him save with the utmost respect. 


The man whom Bino brought forward was a roughly- 
attired, frieze-coated Spaniard of middle age, with the 
shrewd, melancholy, bearded visage of a herd upon the 
Galloway hills, and when he spoke, he had the same slow 
speech, as if before delivery each word had been weighed 
and not found wanting. It was a face to respect — a plain, 
sane, quietly humorous face to which I took from the first. 
I was blood-brother to the type. At home they call 
each other "Tammas" and " Jone," crying stormily 
athwart the mists of the mountain tops. 

Like them too Rodil never did anything in a hurry. If he 
only filled his pipe, he did it with a gesture of one taking 
part in a religious ceremony. And this thoughtful air was 
genuine — the product of years of mountain winds and 
nights spent in the dens and caves of the earth. 

I have seen something of the same look about an ancient 
seaman — a certain wise simplicity and childish innocence 
preserved through a world of experiences. Loose-limbed 
was Rodil, bowed in the shoulder, his rough " Bill Sykes" 
cap tossed carelessly on his head. He looked habitually 
lazy, his appearance betraying nothing of the daring and 
ready resource which really characterised him through 

By profession Rodil was a mender of umbrellas. That 
was his proper task when the police inquired or when the 
fit of manual activity came to him. But 
in the latter case he needed either Penique 
_- - ^ ■ or Concepcion to assist him. The unlicensed 
peddling of smuggled goods he could 
manage alone. As for Marinessia, she had always been 
a thing apart, generally dwelling with her uncle in the 
town of El Seo. Her father's pet, she must not be sub- 
jected to the rough and tumble of the caravan or the 
huddle of the parador chamber in which Penique rejoiced. 



M ari nessia's 
uncle, with 
whom she 
abode, was a 
bien man in 
comfortable cir- 
cum s t ances, 
with a house 
within the city 
walls, as well 
as a little cane- 
built farmhouse 
of his own out- 
side in the 

It took me a 
day or two to 
acquire the con- 
fidence of my 
new friends. 
Bino's recom- 
mendation went 


some way. 
Still more, the 
report of our joint smuggling adventure (though, truth 
to tell, this was a little marred by my visit to the Bishop 
in his carriage), carried weight with Rodil and his house- 
hold. Most of all the averted looks and steady espion- 
age of the local authorities pleaded eloquently for me. It 
was felt that he could not be other than a man of virtue 
and probity upon whom the government frowned. 

Day by day I spent a larger number of hours with the 
far-descended son of the Rodiis and Alvas. When I was 
first introduced we had found him breakfasting in the 




brumous haze of the morning, with the tower of a little 
church immediately behind. Rodil had been cutting an 
inscription on a tombstone, for graveyard sculpture was 
also one of his assets in the battle of lite. The family 
was at its early meal, and I had just manipulated my 


innocent-looking Newman and Guardia camera when the 
sharp eye of Penique (or " the Copper ") observed me. 
Indeed his hand has been caught in the very act of reach- 
ing out to warn his mother of our approach. 

There was not much said at the time, except by Bino. 
I was on my probation^ and Rodil was inclined to speak 
but little. He offered us very courteously a portion of 
their fare, and we as ceremoniously wished that it might 
be for their honours' own healths to eat it. But later in 
the day I encountered Rodil and his son Penique busy at 


their trade under the shelter of the town well-house. 
They sat under the eaves, Penique handing his father bits 
of wire and sprigs of steel as these were required. He 
wanted badly to be off playing at soldiers down under the 
fort with the other boys of El Seo, or raiding the Bishop's 
garden in its owner's absence. But the " Copper " was a 
wise boy and desired no difficulties with his father. 
Health and happiness were best preserved by a strict, if 
sometimes irksome, filial piety. 

Such combinations of well and wash-house as that 
under whose eaves I found them, are peculiar to the 
Eastern Pyreneean country on both sides of " the snow 
saddle." The women gossip there pleasantly enough with 
much clicking of slippery washing boards and slapping of 
dirty linen. Penique would dearly have loved to bandy 
words with them. For he had a good conceit of his 
tongue, and remembered occasions when his triumph had 
won applause and drage'es (sweetmeats). But to sit still 
and hand his father spare umbrella ribs and bits of 
wire commended itself more to Penique's sober judgment 
than all the glory of successful word-combat. 

As I came forward the principal lawyer, in company 
with the alcalde of El Seo, was passing through the 
square, in clothes which would not have 
appeared odd in the Strand. They had • i.r^ c 1 
doubtless heard of my adventure with the Social 
Bishop, and if I did not promptly do some- 
thing desperate, they were capable of asking me to 
accompany them to the Cafe or even of giving me the 
freedom of the city. So I passed them with a desperate 
calmness, lifted my hat to Rodil the umbrella-mender, 
and — sat down beside him. I had chosen my faction. The 
declaration was formal, and constituted authority did not 
again recognise me, save by sending the gendarmes 


in my absence, to go through every article I had in 
my room. 

And Rodil ! Well, he only tapped away at his umbrella ; 
but I could see by the slant of one wary eye and the slow 
rare smile that percolated up about the corners of his 
mouth that his mind was quite awake to all the issues. He 
said nothing for perhaps five minutes, and then he sent 
Penique for some more copper wire. Penique, who did 
not now wish to absent himself, desiring, doubtless, to 
perfect his imitation of the stranger's blundering speech 
for the benefit of his comrades, produced another little roll 
of wire from his pockets, Rodil's brows instantly clouded, 
and his hand dropped in the direction of a switch which 
lay, as one might say, "convenient." 

" Put it down and go ! " he thundered. 

Penique obe3'ed instantly, with a humble and even 
prayerful expression ; but I am convinced that he made a 
face behind our backs ere he disappeared. 

"You have chosen the better part ! " remarked Rodi), 
nodding approvingly. "They are dull — dull — all these 
little officials 1 Yes, they and the priests — for me, I call 
them God's asses — and the devil's ! " 

"Which might be which?" I inquired, eager for a 
further taste of the beggar-man's quality. 

" Oh, I would have you understand I am no scoffer," 
said Rodil, with seriousness. " The holy fathers are God's 
asses, and the lawyers the devil's ! The wire ? Thank 
you a thousand times, Senor. Where is that young 
son of perdition, Penique ? Oh, I remember, I sent 
him away. He is too fond of listening to that which 
it does not concern the young to hear. Moreover, the 
pricked ears of youth are a halter on a grown man's 
tongue ! " 

All the while he was tapping away with a slender iron- 


shafted hammer, and picking tacks and pieces of wire out 
of his mouth, as quick as you could wink. 

" I have heard," he said, " of your smuggling and carry- 
ing the case of jewellery. I got some of the very load 
from Don Mark this morning. He stood next me in 
church, in the dark behind the great altar, where the 
gendarmes never come, and where it is so safe to make 
exchanges ! Religion is always blessed, and no one can 
say that I, Rodil y Alva, am a pagan. At first, it is true, 
I mistrusted you — in the matter of the visit to the Bishop. 
But now I see it was only that you might know things — 
to see deep into people, bishops and basketmakers, um- 
brella-menders and beggar-men. Ah, I know part — some 
things I have seen that are hidden even from you. But if 
it had been my fate to be rich, I would have travelled the 
world even as you ! " 

"But I am «o/rich," I hastened to assure him, for there 
is no worse character to possess in an unsettled country. 
" I was born in a land as poor as yours, and the craft of 
the writer is in all lands none of the best considered ! " 

" Yes," he assented, '* so I have heard. Yet once when 
I rented a little farm, I had to pay a whole duro for a 
letter that was written for me, threatening my neighbour, 
who had moved the fence of canes a yard in his favour, 
anent the time of the ploughing for the winter wheat ! " 

" Ah," said I, eager to be poor among the poor, " but 
the man who wrote that letter was a lawyer, I'll warrant 
him — and very likely alcalde as well, or perhaps even 
deputy ! " 

" Indeed he was — all the three," said the umbrella- 
mender, nodding his head at my sagacity ; " I am glad 
you are not that species of writer who charges a whole 
duro for only a sheet and a half — and even then the words 
widely written and few on a page ! " 


There was a slight noise behind, the flutter of bare feet, 
an uncertain scuffling, a cough. Rodil and I turned our 
heads with the instinctive suspicion of the seasoned tramp. 
But it was only Penique. He hastened to forestall any 
movement towards the rod of correction with his hand 
raised palm outwards in deprecation. 

** I have ' borrowed ' some fine wire, both sizes," he said, 
hurriedly, " and taken back Senor Menaldo's umbrella, the 
green one that was ripped away from the ferule, and 
brought two parasols to mend from the great house on the 
hill. Now what more shall I do, my father ? " 

" Go and wash your face, Penique ! " said Rodil, and 
went on with his tapping. Penique started, and the para- 
sols dropped from under his arm. 

" I would rather be beaten — and stay ! " he muttered, 
beginning to whimper. 

" Go," said his father grimly, " or I will bid thy mother 
to wash thee ! " 

" I will go," said Penique, with fresh alacrity. " I will 
borrow the soap without her knowing. For when she 
washes me she scrubs till my ears are like beet-root ! " 

" Go hastily," said his father, " or by all the saints and 
martyrs, not your ears only shall be as red as beet-root, 
but your body also from nape to heel. Off with you, little 
frog ! " 

Thus it was that Rodil and I began our friendship. 
After I began to know him better he proved full of the 
wisest of saws and the most modern of instances. 

" There is no converse between a man and a boy save 
with the shadow of a birch rod between them ! " he would 
say. " Now there is Penique. His mother spoils him, 
and yet he will not go near her if he can help it. But as 
for me, I keep young Don Rascal at the stick's end, and, 
lo ! I cannot be rid of him from morning to night ! " 


Then he gave me in short the philosophy of Beggar- 

" It is as good a trade as another," he said, " and fully 

as honest. The Sangrador bleeds, and so 

1 -ni 1 1 i. 1. c Rodil's Mouth 

do we. 1 he lawyer cheats, but as tor us. 

we say plainly what we want, and in time of p . 
need — take it. (DonotletPenique hear that!) 
The priest prays, and so at a pinch can I — yet for all that 
one sees, my prayers are just as efficacious as his. I have 
my waggon, my horse, my tools, my ten fingers. Those who 
call me mendicant do so at their peril, for I possess a 
knife ready in my sash. I have also a wife — good as wives 
go, failing only in obedience and the power to hold her 
tongue, the two common ills of the sex. I have a daugh- 
ter, the like of whom has no man. She is no ways beau- 
tiful, I grant you. Yet I think not that it is altogether for 
her money that your friend, Bino the Frenchman, hangs a 
foot after her ! 

" Ah, I have seen ! An old hound knows the tricks 
of the young dogs ! He is a Frenchman, indeed, and all 
Frenchmen are — that which it is better not to express. 
But — Bino, I have known him many seasons — I have no 
fault to find with Bino. But when he comes seeking my 
daughter and her money — why, that is another tale ! " 

" Her money ? " I said. " You must have done well 
with your umbrellas to be able to give her a dowry — one 
that would tempt a man well-to-do in the world like 

" / give her money ! " — Rodil laughed. " I have not an 
ochavino to give her. What her uncle may do I know 
not. He is an old sedate hunks, and sits close on his 
money bags. But Marinessia has no need of any man's 
bounty. She has received ' the palms.' She has also a 
medal and — what do you call it — a pension ! " 


" From the government ? " I inquired. ** I had not 
thought that you stood so well with the officials. You 
are the first man I have known in Spain who did not take 
his dues, or more than his dues, out of the governmental 
pouch — not as a suppliant but with the strong hajid ! " 

"The government ! " he cried, dropping his pincers in 
his haste to correct my mistake. " Why, I do not mean the 
government of Madrid, but the government of France — 
which is a true government, and knows how to keep its 
promises. It happened thus. My girl, Marinessia, is very 
strong and loves horses. So that from Bayona to Banyuls 
all call her La Dompteuse. 

" You have seen her, Senor ? A plain face, but a head 
like a blessed Madonna painted up in a church, a man's 
shoulders, arms — sir, you should see her at the plough with 
a team of young horses — and an eye ! Ah, Excellency, the 
life is in the eye ! She has her father's eye. Watch ! 
There is no man in El Seo can do this, but Rodil y Alva 
alone 1 " 

A great hulking dog, of the sort which butchers keep 
(called on the other side of the mountains Danois), came 
with a sullen slouch across the little Plaza. He was 
walking in our direction, probably homeward bound after 
spending the night in urgent personal affairs. All at once 
the brute grew visibly uneasy under Rodil's steady glance, 
looked up, stopped dead, gave a short sharp growl more 
of protest than anger, let fall his stub tail, and turning, 
trotted off the way he had come. As I looked at Rodil, 
I was in time to catch the last spark of something that 
burned ruddy as a danger signal, dying out of the enlarged 
pupil of his eye. 

" My daughter,'' he went on, " can do that and more. 
She can temper a young mule without the breaker's cruel 
bridle. The thing happened last year, that of which I 


tell you, in the time of the early falling snow. Perhaps 
you remember the storm. We were going north, my wife 
and Penique and I, Marinessia being with us. She wished 
to see France, and the frost having come early at her 
uncle's, there was no more work to be done on the farm. 
So we dwelt in the caravan, we four — or rather for warmth 
Penique slept in the boot underneath, along with the watch 

" You have been by Puymorens across the Col de la 
Perche ? What — many times ? Well then, 
you remember the steep descent from . 

Mont Louis as you go towards Ville- ,, 

r JO won the 

tranche ? There is a bridge at the bottom, "Palms" 
very narrow, and as God willed it, only half 
of it passable at the moment, the rest being under repair. 

" Now in Mont Louis there are many soldiers, very 
many. It is the greatest of all the fortresses in the south. 
Ah, they would not let you take your pictures there with 
the photograph machine ? That I can well believe I I 
also have experienced their foolish rigour, I was once in 
gaol at that place. But not this time — no, for when we 
went through it again they turned out the soldiers to 
salute us, and the band played. 

" But that was my daughter's doing, who is a noble girl 
and too good for any man — though, as I grant you, plain 
of face. We were resting in a field by the roadside, and 
our old beast was turned out to graze. Little enough, 
God knows, was there for him to champ his teeth upon ! 
And Marinessia, who hates to be idle, was helping a 
neighbouring farmer's wife to break the clods with a great 
stone roller and a team of oxen ! Ah, Senor, what a wife 
she will make, that girl ! Her man will have no need to 
work ! 

" Well, sudden as cannon shot, from above there came 


a great crying and a growing rumble. I ran to the 
roadside, but because there was a bend I could see nothing. 
Yet more and more men cried, as the rumble came nearer, 
and I hastened to the bridge-head thinking that mayhap there 
had been an ice-break high among the mountains, and that 
the floods were threatening the river-lands ! Such things 
have been. I have seen them. Twice have I lost all by 
camping too near a hill water before the spring ice broke. 
" But as I stood and looked — I and many men, Italians 
and Sardes mostly, who were working at the bridge — lo, 
round the corner rocking and swaying came a carriage — 
a great man's carriage, not a hired hack of the roads. 
The horses were galloping wild with fear, their necks 
stretched out, and in the carriage there were two ladies. 
The coachman had leaped off long before, where he found 
a soft place, for he knew of the bridge. He was a 
Frenchman and cared only for his own skin. 

" Then the Sardes cried out, ' Scatter and let them 
pass ! ' But I knew that never a passage was there over 
the bridge for horses mad as these were. They would 
strike the parapet, and then — I shuddered to think what 
would come then. I drew a little back. Yes, I who have 
the name of a brave man — I, Rodil y Alva — and who 
deserve it. But, Senor, if you had seen those mad horses, 
that bridge littered with great blocks of stone knee-high, 
and heard the river growl below, you also, Senor, might 
have done the same. 

" So I stood like one mazed, a dry prickling heat tingling 
behind my eye-balls, and the silence of waiting in my 
heart. As one waits breathless while the tall tree sways 
uncertainly to the fall, so I stood. 

"There was a copse at the last bend — a little, little 
clump of trees, all wind-driven away from the north by 
the fierce even thrust of the mistral — your honour knows 



it. It is just at the angle of the road before the bridge. 
And as I stood thus, I saw one spring out of the pine 
shadows. It was my daughter — yes, that same Marinessia 
whom you have seen, and where no man would venture, 
she leaped and clung. They dragged her, the mad 
creatures beating her from side to side as they tossed 
their heads, Hke a bladder on a jester's staff. But 
presently she got her footing and ran a little way with 
them, holding back with all her weight. They slackened, 
but already the bridge was near, and nearer still the 
scattered stone blocks the Sardes had left. Almost they 
were over. The side of the carriage carried away the 
wooden rail before the stone baluster begins. 
" * God in his heaven ! ' I cried, * they are gone 1 ' 
" But suddenly my daughter Marinessia caught the 
reins in both hands, and with a gesture grand and simple 
and strong, wrenched the horses' heads as it were across 
her chest. They stopped, trembling — and the breast of 
the leader scraped the parapet of the bridge ! Senor, it 
was the wife and daughter of the commandant of Mont 
Louis who were in that carriage. 

" Great folk they were, for their father was a general, 
and in favour with the government. The which is a rare 
thing and brings much power. For in France not all the 
generals love the government. But by wondrous good 
chance this one had favour. So for his wife's sake, and 
still more for his daughter's, he obtained the * laurels ' for 
my girl. No, I do not well know what they are, but they 
are of great respect, and they were presented at Prades to 
my daughter Marinessia. The prefect put something on 
her head — palms or laurels — I know not which. I only 
know that Marinessia cried all night and part of the 
morning because she had to appear before these great 
folk. Indeed she only stopped when Penique told her 


that she was making her eyes red and ugly hke half-baked 
earthenware saucers. 

" But at the ceremonial everything passed well. Even 
the soldiers presented arms to my Marinessia, yes, and 
every year there is a paper comes to the care of the cure 
of Puymorens, who is a friend of mine. Then when I 
take it, with Marinessia's name written thereon to the 
bank in Prades, and wait a while behind wire, after much 
writing here and there and showing of papers, the money 
is paid — all in gold and each Napoleon worth many, many 
of the pesetas of hungry Spain. 

" That is the tale, and Marinessia is a good girl, having 
that which is better than beauty. No, Senor, I do not 
mean the money — though it is true that money also is 
good. But if Biho, your friend, is an honest man, and he 
and my daughter of a liking, I shall not say them nay. 
But all must be regular and done by the priest of Puy- 
morens, my friend. For we Alvas are no road-gangers, 
no hen-roost thieves, no heathen Gitanos; but good 
Christians and of an ancient family. Here, Penique, come 
and let me look at your face." 

The man of ancient family stopped in his monologue. 
His son had crept up noiselessly behind us, and without 
doubt had been listening unobserved to the concluding 
sentences of the father's eulogy of his daughter. 

** It is somewhat cleaner, Penique," he 
said, after inspection; "now be off ! " ^ ^ , 

The boy lingered uncertainly. ^^ 

" Marinessia has all theluck,"he grumbled; 
" uncle thinks the world of her, and stones me out of the 
garden if I so much as look at one of his old fig trees ! 
The government gives nie no pension." 

" My friend," said Rodil to his son, without stopping 
even for a moment his tick-tacking, " unless you mend your 


manners the government will give you free quarters, and 
something worse to do than holding wire for your father's 
umbrella mending ! " 

"I want to go 'across the mountains' with Bino ! " 
whimpered the boy ; " he has promised that I shall, if you 
will permit ! " 

For there comes a time at which Basque and Aragonese 
boys take to the hills to prove their manhood. In France 
the age at which great crimes are committed is from 
eighteen to twenty-one. In Spain, the crude materialism 
which gives rise to the choice of murder as a career, does 
not exist. But instead, the young men go north to the 
Pyrenees or south to Ronda and Tarifa. In either case 
they become smugglers. The hard life weeds them off 
rapidly, but those who return gradually settle down as 
traders, merchants, and distinguished citizens. Some, on 
the other hand, enter the government service and hunt their 
old comrades with zeal and discretion — and without too 
much ill-feeling on either side. 

After Rodil had, as it were, perused me for some days, 
and assured himself that I was neither a government spy, 
nor trying to find out the secret of a gold mine — the two 
favourite explanations of my presence among the mountains 
— we took to each other amazingly. 

" We will leave my wife with her brother," he said ; 
"she is of little use at any rate, on such a journey, and 
she and Penique can at least * eat off' him ! He has never 
paid me the last quarter of his sister's dowry to this day. 
Or at least, not that part of it which we differed about 
■ — and if they cannot eat the amount at his house, I 
shall never see a penny of it. Besides, we shall see 
so much the more, being disembarrassed of women, 
and" (said as an afterthought) "it is more becoming 
that Marincssia should have her mother with her, if 


so be that your friend persists in making his court to 
her ! " 

Rodil broke off suddenly. 

" Penique — Penique," he cried, making a trumpet of his 
hand, " go forthwith to your mother and tell her that she 
is to clear the caravan and take her things and yours to 
your Uncle Esteban ! " 

The boy appeared with suspicious alacrity from nowhere 
in particular, and upon hearing the order repeated, set up 
a howl of despair. 

" I will not go to my Uncle's," he cried. " I want to go 
with you, father — to travel the land — to be a man ! " 

I was sorry for Penique, and said so because I foresaw 
that for some time I might be deprived of Bino's 
services. Also, because I much desired an excuse for 
sleeping outside Rodil's caravan, I pled for the boy. He 
watched with eager eyes, knowing full well that his fate 
hung in the balance. His father did not answer directly. 
It was not his way. But all the same Penique knew that 
every tap without a peremptory order was so much in his 

" I would work so hard," he murmured as if talking to 
himself; " none could find fodder for the mule like me — or 
acquire barley for his supper, or currycomb him with 
thoroughness, or wake in the night to see that he had not 
pulled up his head-stake ! " 

"Faya, green croaking froglet," growled his father — 
"jvow wake ! You would not awaken if all the thunder- 
bolts of heaven were unloosed, and the solid hills fell 
crashing into the valleys." 

At this Penique precipitated himself along the square in 
somersaults and cartwheels of joy. He had achieved his 
permission. As for me, 1 also was content. I liked Rodil. 
I was overjoyed to study vagabondage from the life. But 



all the same — I was glad of an excuse to sleep elsewhere 
than in the airless caravan. 

As a travelling companion Rodil was perfect. He 
never went too far. He never went too fast. He 
w^as amenable to hints as to stopping-places. Being 
one of the few Spaniards who habitually smoke a pipe, 
he was not eternally "twizzling" cigarette papers 
night and day — a thing which ultimately grows irritating 
to one not to the manner born. He had the long silences 
of the northerner, and was content to sit and push 

the " dottle " down with his 
thumb, till he had something 
to say worth saying. 

As he opened out he gave 
me the biographies of the 
passers-by while we sat to- 
gether under the pleasant tilt 
of his cart, with Penique 
running on ahead and stimu- 
lating Babiecawith incentives 
literally of the stone age. 
We had left the pleasant City 
of Dream by its southern 
gate, and on a post over- 
looking the canal near the 
barracks sat a man fantasti- 
cally robed in a striped man- 
tle of brown and yellow. 

" Can I take him ? " I de- 
manded of Rodil. For though 
he himself had no scruples 
as to being photographed, 
others might not be equally 
DOS TOMAs OF THE MURDERS large-miudcd. However, it 



of the 

soon appeared that the object on the post had no objec- 
tions. Yet I well-nigh missed him, for in 
descending hastily from the front seat of ^^ ^^^ 
the caravan I dropped my "finder," and 
had to chance the exposure. I succeeded, 
however, in getting my beggar on the very edge of the plate. 
" It is well," said Rodil, " that is old Don Tomas of the 

Murders — no common 
man. Tomas ! In his 


day he committed 
many. But that time is long past, and now he only 
tramps upon the roads from shrine to shrine ! " 

" But why," I asked, " has he not been tried and con- 
demned ? I thought all these things were of the past in 
Spain ! " 

"That is just it," said Rodil with much philosophy. 
" These things happened long ago — in a time of war, and 
besides the dead people were all his own kinsfolk. If you 
give him a Great Dog (a penny) he will tell you all about 
it. That is, indeed, how he makes his living, both here 
and in his wife's Ventorilla ! " 



As my experiences of life had not included hearing a 
Troppman of the family circle relate the story of his slay- 
ings for so small a consideration, I decided to invest in a 
pennyworth of the stock-in-trade of Don Tomas of the 

The old man, his mouth all adroop, was basking in the 
sun, which warmed his limbs and doubtless sent a drowsy 
bliss inward to his heart. He blinked upon us as we came 
near, but equally without expectation and without fear. 
Rodil addressed him familiarly. 

"Ah, father Tomas," he said, " we are fortunate indeed 
to find you. This great foreign nobleman has come from 
England to see and to hear you speak ! " 

The old man cackled out a clucking, toothless laugh. 
"Ah, yes," he muttered, "they all come. They all 
listen to old Tomas. When he speaks every one is silent. 
Tomas is the most famous man in Aragon — aye, in all the 
Spains — that is, since they slew Jose Maria." 

He lifted up his hand and pointed to the long white line 
of the cavalry barracks whose windows seemed positively 
to blink in the fierce sunshine. 

" Aye, aye," he laughed in that horrible soft cloopy way 
(like boots pulled out of the mud), " the lads over yonder 
have fought with the Yen-kees, and they are brave. But 
no one of them has ever put down so many men as old 
Tomas — and Hved to tell the tale ! " 

And then the dreadful old man leaned forward suddenly 
and thrusting his staff in my face, he added in his unctuous 
shivering whisper, ^^ also they were all of my family 1 ''^ 

He had a series of little rings of brass let into his staff 
just below the handle. 

" All my kinsfolk," he chuckled again triumphantly, 
" and all grown men. Never unfairly I slew one, and 
never behind backs ! Any one will tell you so I " 



At this point Rodil nudged my elbow and I gave the 
old villain certain small coins, which he slipped into a 
greasy rag-bag slung about his neck. As I did so I saw 
many crosses and medals, such as are given to pilgrims at 
holy places for the accomplishment of pilgrimages. Tomas 
was on the way to make an edifying end. But for the 
present his thoughts were far other, and not well beseem- 
ing in a visitant of shrines. 

" That," he said pointing to the first ring on his staff, 

" is my brother Barbalu, the wise one, the medico. He 

was so strong and so wise that he had me 

_ . ^ ^ cast out of the house. But I met him in 

Executioner . , . <-,. ,, 

the way — by the bierra Moncayo it was — 

where the red rock is, shaped like a lion. And, ha ! ha ! 

Barbalu was wise, and Barbalu was a physician. But the 

physician could not cure himself, and he found that my 

little knife was the better Smigrador (blood-letter) ! " 

The jest was manifestly an ancient one, from the extreme 
enjoyment of the old bandit as he mumbled it out. But 
Rodil hurried him on to other tales. 

"The great cannot wait all day on your foolish gossip, 
Don Tomas," said Rodil, " what do the other rings 
betoken ? " 

"The next," said Tomas, glimmering at it through his 
stubby dead-white eyelashes, " was — let me see — yes, 
my brother-in-law, the husband of my sister, he was — a 
big strong man that would have taken everything for him- 
self. He had the vineyard, but he died before he had 
gathered in the first vintage. Then comes my cousin 
Esteban, the miller, who went about with evil tales 
against me, and my youngest brother Julio, against whom 
I had no quarrel till he provoked me at the entering in of 
El Seo, when I came down one Easter Sunday to make 
my year's peace, with my money for the priest ready in 


the stitching of my Montera cap. I was walking d la 
birlonga, that is, at mine ease. But my father, the old 
man, having disinherited me, had set the youngling on. 
So Julio died — yes, at the gate of El Seo he died, and 
when his father heard of it, he took to his bed and died 
also. / have always been grieved for that ! I had meant it 
to happen otherwise. That is why there is no ring in this 
place on the staff ! I was not a son for any father to dis- 
inherit — that is, with safety ! " 

Don Tomas waggled his head sadly as he gazed at the 


*' No," he said, " I am an honest man and no boaster, 
like some of those over yonder. I will take no credit for 
that which I have not done. My father died in his bed, 
and so there is only a ring of black on my staff — black, 
that is, in token of mourning ! " 

By this time I had had quite enough of Don I'onias of 
the Murders, and hastened away from the roll call of the 
remaining rings. 

The old man rose and shouted after us. He had meant 
to detain us all day. " Wait, wait — I have not told you 
of my wife's relations — not so much as one of them ! " 

Rodil and I went up the brae together, the dust boiling 
up hot and soft under our feet. It came up between my 
toes, through the alpargatas, with a feeling of comfort 
particularly soothing. 

" How is it," I asked of Rodil as we pushed on to join 
Peniqiie, " that such an old villain has not been garrotted 
long ago ? " 

Rodil shrugged his shoulders at the impossibility of 
ever making the foreigner understand the customs of 

" It is just because it happened so long ago," he said, 
" as I told you it was a time of war, and there were many 


killings. Besides, Don Tomas was alwaj's a good religious 

man, and gave to the church, never doing evil to any, 

except to those of his own house with whom he had a 

quarrel. To which be it added, that they were all an evil 

tribe — his two brothers and his cousin Esteban the miller, 

and, worse than all, his wife's relations. So the people 

said, ' The thing is very well done ! ' And they even 

pointed out others to Don Tomas of whom the earth had 

been the better rid. But because of his 

^- ,^ kind heart and forgetfulness, somehow they 

the Younger ... , • , • ./ j .u 

were let live, which in the end was the 

worse for the land. But the worst of all is Don Tomas's 

own son, who will one day undoubtedly slay the old man, 

being set on by his mother to revenge her kindred. Even 

the priest spoke against filial ingratitude from the pulpit 

and said, ' It is a warning ! ' And so truly it was. For if 

you kill out a nest of snakes and spare one — that one will 

one day bite you to the death ! " 

Then Rodil thought a little, and shook his head gravely 
at his own wisdom. 

"No," he said, "when a man sets himself to clean his 
yard, it is better for him to sweep all the rubbish outside 
the gate ! " 

As we took the dusty road towards Moncayo, another 
man crossed us, so startlingly like Don Tomas of the 
Murders that I stood and gazed. The dress was a little 
different, the face was younger but far more evil. 

" That is Tomas the younger ! " whispered Rodil. " Yes, 
take his picture — I am here. The serpent may hiss, but 
he dare not strike ! " 

So I took the picture and there it is — the picture of a 
man that had committed no bloodshed, yet whom a whole 
countryside recognises as worse than the father who in his 
day well-nigh exterminated two families. It was another 



warning not to judge hastily 
of the standard of morals 
among any people. For, as 
was afterwards made abund- 
antly clear, of the two the 
shedder of blood was indeed 
incomparably the better man. 

" But how," I said to Rodil, 
"does such a man as Don 
Tomas live ? Surely people 
are afraid when they see him 
come about a house ? " 

" Nay," said Rodil, " he is 
no beggar, no mendicant, not 
even a merchant supplicant 
like me. Don Tomas has a 
ventorilla^ a wine-shop, and 
supplies many respectable 
people at three-half-pence the 
skin. For me I would not 
care to abide there all night, 
but on account of other living 
things than Don Tomas — aye, 
or his son either ! " 

" Yet the younger is the eviller beast," continued Rodil, 
*' he would have slain Penique — who I admit often needs 
the stick, but no more. So now Penique waits for him at 
the dark ends oi calks and behind doors — ready to smite 
and run. I have beaten him for it. But after all, they 
are an evil breed, and Penique is old enough to look after 
himself, and if not — why, it is high time that he learned.' 

" And what had Penique done that the man should try 
to kill him ? " I asked of this most philosophical parent. 

"Done? "cried Rodil, "why, no great things. Only, 




as boys will when threatened — there had been some little 
calling of names, and as I tell you, the matter of the 
smiting. Ah, there he is at this moment ! Penique, you 
young good-for-nothing, what do you there, and where is 
the waggon ? " 

For as we passed out of the last suburb, there was 
Penique, alert as a terrier at a rabbit-hole wailing at the 
end of a narrow calle for Don Tomas the younger, and 
the mule a little behind cheerfully improving the shining 
hour by eating clothes off a line. 

But Rodil would have none of it, and he put the prohi- 
bition on high grounds. 

"By-and-by, you shall do as you will, Tobalito," he 
said soothingly to his offspring, " strike and take ! Have 
your quarrel out and God help the better man ! But now 
there is the business, the caravan, and this stranger to 
remember ! " 

So to put Penique out of temptation he was sent on 
with the mule and caravan, by the long road which leads 
away across the parched plains, while ^^ 

Rodil and I took a short cut over the ,,^^^ 

Sierra of Moncayo. There was plenty of „ , , 

time, and as we went Rodil discoursed yet 
more and further of his profession. 

" You saw that fellow beneath the portico all covered 
with stone-working in the plaza of the city, as we came 

" The young man showing his stumps at the wrist ? 
Yes, too often ! " said I, shuddering. For the loathsome 
objects belonging to a man well enough dressed otherwise, 
had fascinated my unwilling eyes all the week. 

"That," he said, "is Pedro of Villarasa — a most re- 
spectable man. The marquis at whose door he stands, 
was indebted to his father on an occasion, and so gave 


him that pitch to beg from. The son has done well there 
also. That young woman with the babe was his wife. 
They speak of making Pedro councillor for his Barrio." 

" But his arms ? Is he not horribly disfigured ? " I 
asked, though I began to understand. 

" His honour is not so simple as he amuses himself with 
pretending," said Rodil. ** It is of course a mere matter 
of bandaging when young, and I will not deny that Pedro 
of Villarasa is clever — too clever for a Mendicant of the 
Pitch, with a stance outside a great man's gate. But then 
he married one of the household servants — a girl of 
Valencia, at the Marquis's request. And they do say — 
ah, yonder I declare is that ratenllo, that thief-of-the- 
world, Pablo Puig, the Catalan, and with him his new 
blowen ! See how he shoulders tiie empty bag, while she 
has all the heavy weight and the sticks for the fire to carry as 
well. Ah, the rascal of rascals ! He came some while 
ago wanting my Marinessia, with lying tales dropping 
from his mouth as he talked. But I knew Pablo, the 
Catalan, yes, and all his people ! Out of Francoli they are, 
and an evil lazy set ! So I answered him, this right hand 
upon my knife, 'I will sell you a mule or a horse, or a 
donkey — that is, if you and I, my Pablo, can agree upon 
a price. But I will not give you my daughter Marinessia 
for nothing, that you may make her all three!' And at 
that he glared like a wolf, yet dared not strike, for I held 
him with the eye till he cringed like a beaten hound." 

It was noon when we came to Miranda. At the gate an 
old and respectable-looking man came out of a wooden 
hut, and after a glance at me he held out his hand for 
some coppers which Rodil gave him as a matter of course. 

" Who is that ? " I asked, " and why do you and not I 
give him money ? Surely he is no beggar ? " 

" Oh, he is the chief of the customs of Miranda," said 



Rodil, "and he must have 
from each of my profession 
who enters — mendicant, sup- 
plicant, or merchant traveller 
— five Great Dogs." 

" But why do you pay — it is 
not his right ? " 

Rodil shrugged his shoul- 
ders and pointed back to the 
man at the receipt of custom. 

" We do not speak of rights 
in Spain," he said ; " see yonder 
is old Critobal, the Cordovan 
beggar, fumbling for his cop- 
pers. This is older than the 
law and stronger. It is custom. 
For if we did not give to the 
chief of the octroi, the head- 
man of the police would find 
some excuse to put us in prison. 
Here in Miranda they are 
cousins by the mother's side, 
he and the man of the custom- 
house ! Oh ! it is excellently 
arranged. Even so my brother and I had settled to do in 
the town of Tudela. But he died, my dear brother, and 
the man who succeeded him had a brother of his own. 
In which case, lucky it was that I did not sell my 

" And were you once in the police ? " I asked in 
wonderment. Rodil nodded and laughed. 

" Aye," he said, " and even yet I enjoy some considera- 
tion because of that. For the good folk remember my 
past, and trust me because of it — while the evil think me 



still secretly in the service of the government, and so are 
afraid to meddle with me ! Which thing serves equally." 

"And what made you leave the civil guards ? " I asked. 

Because I had 
a daughter 
whom I loved, 
even Marines- 
s i a ! And 
wih en she 
married I did 
not wish that 
any one 
should be able 
to cast it up 
to her that — 
she was the 
daughter of a 
Miguelite, a 
policeman ! 
Sir, I am a 
poor man but 
I have a pride 
of my own — 
at least, for 
my children!" 
And that 
night in the 
stony gorges 

of Moncayo, after the heath-plants had been gathered and 
the sacks laid straight upon them for a mattress in one of 
the many grottoes of the hillside, I wandered forth. And 
there under the arch of the stars, sparkling many-coloured 
in the falling dew (as through a pane which begins to be 



frosted) I thought of the strange prides and shames of 
men, and wondered how far above the earth one would 
need to be hfted, to see them all as one — aristocracy and 
mendicancy, honour and dishonour, the king among 
beggars and the beggar among kings. 

For when you take them foot to foot upon the same 

earth, men are curiously equal in mental stature — that is, 

among the highest in rank, and the lowest. 

^ Money and brains drain down or leaven 

up into the middle class. The clever aris- 
tocrat consorts with his peers of brain rather than with 
his peers of blood. The clever workman rises to a villa 
and the superintendence of a Sunday School. As for the 
others, in all lands I have found them about equal — the 
beggar as good a talker as the lord, with an advantage on 
the side of experience, as full of ideas, as pithy and 
sparing of words, equally barbaric of heart — both how- 
ever, aristocrat and proletariat, haters of the bourgeoisie 
rather than of one another. 

May not the Armageddon of the future be when these 
two join hands against the all-aggrandising middle-class? 
That would indeed be the revenge of barbarism. It has 
drawn to itself all, this Middle Estate, brains, money, wit, 
executive — all except the power and desire to fight. One 
day, be sure, the later Goths will once more glut their 
ire. And then — through the world from continent to 
continent, what a crying of fa ira ! The Paris Commune 
of 1 87 1 proved that the proletariat cannot supply its own 
leaders. But your aristocratic is a born fighting leader, 
and the two united might prove irresistible. Who knows ? 
It is, at least, a dream of the City of Dream. One day, 
however, it may be more. 

And as I thought on all these things and looked up at 
the stars, I did not wonder at the stern conclusion of a 


certain indicter of wise sayings, ^^ He that sits in the 
heavens shall laugh ! " Tliough I also hoped that, being 
critically examined, the original might be found to bear 


the sense of " smile." " He that sits in the heavens shall 
smile'^ upon mankind — a smile of understanding, of all- 
comprehension, of pity infinite, without mockery and with- 
out resentment. 




Stand back a little from your life and mark the strange 
links and chance connectives, seemingly so unimportant at 
the time. How did you first know your 
sweetheart, your wife, your business part- 
ner ? I knew a man who met his bride 
through being locked up all night on account of a 
piece of boyish mischief, but who had reason all his life 
to regret that he " bonneted the bobby." Another dived 
to the bottom of a river to bring up the almost inanimate 
body of his future wife — and has been sorry ever since 
that he did not let her stop. 

Take the present instance. If I had not had the row 
with the frontier authorities I should not have known 
Bino. If I had not known Bino I should never have found 
my way to the Sebastians at San Severino — never broken 
the Customs laws of two ancient countries, never dreamed 
pleasant dreams in the city of El Seo, never looked 
down on Bishop Armandus walking in his Garden of the 

Then more and further, if I had not known Bino, I 
should not have been acquainted with Rodil and his 



daughter Marinessia. And it was through my caravan 
journeys with the former that I found my Zaida of the 

Of course, with such a name there is a love story 
attached — not, however, of the usual kind. When abroad 
two imperious desires sway me, one of which sets me 
photographing washerwomen, and the other impels me to 
make friends with little girls. Afterwards when these 
last grow up, looks and money and calculation may sway 
their hearts. But from four or five to the age of eight, I 
fear no foe, though I says it as shouldn't. Without boast- 
fulness I have had my experiences. The way to the heart 
lies plain at the age of six, there or thereabouts. I come 
— I see — I conquer. That is — I and a box of chocolates. 
— " I have had sweethearts, I have had companions." — But 
oh, I wish they would not get into the so reprehensible 
habit of growing up ! When they lengthen their skirts, 
make broad their phylacteries — and will not sit upon my 
knee — alas 1 all (or nearly all) is over between us. 

But from four to eight it is otherwise. In that fair but 

chilly land, the country of the wild Scots, there is one 

who thinks of me when she piles her bricks 

and nurses her doll, munches her mid-meal 

^ . biscuit (the stay of the always hungry), 

Companions , , , n , ,. ., 

and shuts her eyes for her white night- 
gowned vespers. At least, if she forgets, she goes back 
and says her prayers all over again. Could there be 
greater proof of devotion ? 

But after all "the story is the thing." I had been 
surprised that after our adventures together I should 
have seen so little of the four Sebastian brothers ; but 
when I had time to think about the matter at all, I had 
put the omission down to my own pre-occupation with 
my friend that holy father in God, Armandus, Bishop of 


El Seo, or that other equally interesting acquaintance, 
Rodil the tinker, the parent of Marinessia Alva. 

As to this I did not say anything to Rodil while on 
our first trip, because I did not know how far he was in 
the secrets of the Sebastians, even though Don Mark had 
sold him some of my packet of jewellery for distribution. 
At all events the secret was not mine. So till I again 
saw Bino I was without information about the four 
evangelist brethren. 

More strange than all it seemed that I should never 
have seen Don Manuel, their father, who had been repre- 
sented to me as spending some time in the city of El Seo, 
watching the chief officers of the revenue, and compre- 
hensively greasing their palms in order to keep down that 
official itch which gold alone can allay. At San Severino 
he had spoken to me more than once of his friend the 
Bishop. But at El Seo the Bishop had not spoken of 
him, even though he knew perfectly well in what manner 
I had been employed before entering his episcopal city. 
Of course he knew. Every one knew. The cats on the 
tiles knew — the very dogs, turned comma-wise over their 
own shoulders in the eager pursuit of backbiters, knew. 
On the Plaza' the Civil Guards looked at once professionally 
suspicious and personally respectful — because they knew. 
Yet of the master of San Severino, no least sign. It 
was strange. Don Manuel had certainly shown a 
liking for me. I was sure that if he had been still in 
the city he would not have failed to call upon me at my 

It was the third day of our final excursion, and Rodil 
had worked his way through most of the gold and silver 
combs, the Neuchatel silver watches, the elaborate pins, 
and gay enamel studs he had taken with him. His 
pockets were heavy instead with the dollars of Spain, and 


in the caravan he had a large bundle of articles taken in 
exchange — of which the most comforting on a cold night 
was a jar of fine home-made cherry brandy, with the 
cherries l^'ing plump and black at the bottom, ready to be 
stirred up with a long-handled spoon. 

On the high plateau we had passed the famous church 
of the Bat, so called because it seems to cling to the arid 
Aragonese soil like a bat with wings outspread. All the 
same it looked to me more like a brooding mother-hen 
who had gathered her chickens under her wings. Then 
quite suddenly, as ofttimes happens in Spain, we came to 
the edge of things. The table-land fell away in furrowed 
red-brown bluffs, scored into arrqyos, speckled with vine- 
yards and olive plantations, while beneath, lost in a drift 
of blue haze, a broad belt of turquoise against the 
copper sky, the valley of the Upper Ebro stretched sinuous 
and mystical. 

The road wound down slowly and crookedly, and it 
was nearly dark before we reached the bottom of the cliff. 
Penique was on ahead with Babieca. The swinging tilt 
of the waggon now towered up in the gloom as if it would 
fall over and crush us — now, as the path sloped down, 
steep as the tiles of a house, I expected every moment to 
find myself sprawling among the crockery and the umbrella 
wire which, cunningly entangled, upheld part of the roof 
of the caravan. 

"To the right 1 Turn to the right!" cried Rodil 
suddenly. The caravan vanished among some high trees. 
All we could see of it was the fire which fiew from 
Babieca's shod fore-feet as the waggon mounted a stiff 
incline. Then all was still. The wheels had struck some- 
thing soft. It was so dark under the trees that Rodil had 
to take my hand. We crossed a brook, climbed the 
causewa3'ed brae up which the mule had stumbled, and so 


found ourselves on a wide open space of green grass. A 
range of buildings occupied one side, but as I looked 
I could see that these had long been ruined. The gables 
and pinnacles stood out bold and splintered against the 
sky. The peculiar black barrenness of a burned building 
struck one, even in the silhouette which these presented. 
But far away across the open space behind the broken 
naiads of a fountain, a light showed mellow. At least we 
had not come to an empty house. Indeed, from Rodil's 
assured movements it was evident he knew well his 

A voice hailed us, as the caravan wheels ground 
suddenly harsh on gravel. Rodil answered in a dialect 
to me unknown, or perhaps with some pre-arranged phrase 
or password. For presently a plain, clean-shaven man 
came towards us, a lantern swinging in his hand. He 
held it up on a level with his chest as he looked me over 
— as I thought at first — with no very favourable eye. 
But a little girl of seven or eight who had followed the 
light ran forward and caught my hand with an air of pro- 
tection. She at least did not share the man's suspicion 
of my looks. 

"You are hungry," she said, clearly and prettily; "you 
shall come in and have part of my supper. Cristina has it 
nearly ready." 

As well as I could I thanked her, and she instantly 
remarked my accent. 

" You are from France," she said; "you come from far 
away. You are also very tired ? I know what it is to 
be tired." 

Meanwhile Rodil was conversing in a low tone with the 
man with the lantern. I heard the words, "The Count 
may come at any time — he does not like " 

But at any rate the colloquy ended in Penique disappear- 


ing with the waggon into a back courtyard, while the Httle 
girl who had taken me under her protection on such slight 
introduction convoyed me to the door from which we had 
first seen the light streaming. Before we entered, she 
pulled me by the sleeve to bend down so that she might 
whisper in my ear, 

" I am Zaida," she said ; " if old Andres or Cristina are 
cross, do not mind them. They are only servant-folk. 
/ am the mistress of this house, and to-morrow I shall 
show you my garden." 

** A strange little girl ? yes, Senor — you may well say 
so. You are the first to whom she has gone like that in 
all the five years since she came here a 
A Strange ^^^^.e ! " 

The good man seated at the table of the 
little kitchen, hidden away in the corner of the vast ruined 
palace of the Counts of Miranda-Aran, looked first at me 
and then at the little dark-haired maid who had climbed 
upon my knee, with a sort of suspicion that these might 
be wizard tricks. 

" She is wild as one of the hill goats up yonder where 
you have come from," said this excellent Anthony of the 
gardens ; " but, you understand, she has always been with 
grown folk, and so is strange in her manners. Even now 
— she will not speak to you ! " 

Which for the moment was true, but I saw something 
in the maid's eyes which told me that she would speak to 
a purpose when the time came. 

At this moment Rodil and Penique entered from tether- 
ing Babieca, so that she might browse on the green outside 
the castle, and a most evil thought came to me. Zaida 
was regarding me with great wide-open eyes, hearing as if 
she did not hear Andres clattering his dominoes on the 


table and talking about her as freely as if she had been a 
hundred miles away. 

'* Go and greet my friends also ! " I whispered. " They 
are my friends ! " 

I saw the pupils of her eyes dilate. Zaida drew a quick, 
sobbing breath, and with one long look to see whether I 
meant it, she walked straight across the stone-flagged 
kitchen, vast almost as a ball-room, to where Rodil had 
seated himself by the side of Senor Andres, the overseer, 
and where Penique still stood by the fire, loutishly uncertain 
what to do with himself Rodil was talking with our 
host at the moment, and the little girl stood, a pathetic, 
patient figure, by his knee, till she could attract his 
attention. She had not long to wait. Rodil searched for 
his tobacco-box, and as he moved in his seat he became 
aware of her. She held up her cheek to be kissed, while 
Andres stared in redoubled amazement. 

"What has come to the girl to-night?" he grumbled, 
clicking his dominoes together like prayer-beads, "she 
never did the like even to me ! " 

Rodil kissed the child on both cheeks, and Zaida fell 
back with a sigh. 

There remained Penique, and Penique appeared at once 
frightened and sulky, as is the wont of boys on such occa- 
sions. The little girl looked at me for instructions. I smiled, 
and indicated Senor Andres. The blood rose quick to 
her cheek. She was not fond of Senor Andres. Could 
it be that he was unkind to her ? Surely not. So I 
nodded again. She went quickly round the table without 
again looking at me, climbed upon the worn bench that 
ran round the wooden table, put her arms about the 
overseer's neck, and, of her own initiative, kissed him on 
the cheek. 

Andres dropped half-a-dozen dominoes with a clatter. 


" Devil skin me like St. Bartholomew ! " he cried, " but 
there is wizardry in this. Is it because these are strangers 
that you behave thus ? You never did the like before." 

Zaida shook her head vehemently. 

" Not because of the foreigners ? " repeated Andres the 
overseer ; " then why have you kissed me ? Because you 
love me, eh ? " 

And he went to put his arm about her with a Spaniard's 
kindly tolerance of children's way^. But at this she 
quickly descended, and, standing a little proudly, with 
her chin in the air, she answered, '^Because he told me.'^ 

" But," said the overseer, smiling, " you have never 
seen the Senor before. You have lived here in this place 
since ever you remember — why — why would you do for 
this stranger that which you would not do for Cristina 
or for me ? " 

But already at seven Zaida had learned her lesson. 
She did not reason. She only stated facts. 

" Because he told tne,'" she repeated, calmly, as if that 
explained everything. Then, still unsmiling, she came 
and re-installed herself on my knee. 

It was certainly flattering, but I was afraid that perhaps 
the guardians of the little girl might not approve of so 
sudden a friendship, a preference so marked — even at 
the age of seven. So I took some photographs from 
my pocket and explained to Andres that I understood 
about little girls, having certain of my own in a far-away 
country, that I had even written books about them — facts 
that fell upon deaf ears so far as Zaida was concerned, 
whose eyes were already busy with the photographs. 
Following the example of the Bishop of El Seo, slie also 
picked out the picture of the little befurred maid cake- 
eating in the snow; and, disdaining the others, devoted 



herself to a careful and particular examination and com- 

** Do you love this little girl better than you love me ? " 
she demanded, imperiously. 

"She is my own little girl, you see," I temporised; " I 
have known her ever since she was born — and — it was I 
who gave her that piece of sweet cake." 

As soon as she had fully comprehended my answer, 
Zaida quietly disengaged herself, slid off my knee without 
a word, and was departing towards the door. I caught 
hold of her hand and stopped her. 

" How would you like if your own father — if the Senor 
Andres — did not love you ? " I asked. 

Zaida straightened up her slim little figure and looked 
at me, the tears beginning to well up in her eyes. 

" He is not my father," she said; "you know better 
than that. My father is dead ! " 

"Ah," I said, "come and tell me about it, and one day I 
will tell this little girl who is far away. She will be sorry ! " 

She looked a moment uncertainly, eyeing my knee 
wistfully. Then all at once she cast herself, sobbing, into 
my arms. 

"Ah," she said, " I thought that you, at least, would 
have loved me best ! I did think it — I did ! " 

" Well," I said, willing to comfort her if I could, " I 
think I do love you best of any one I have seen in all 
Spain. It is a great country, and I have seen many people." 

" Ah," she cried, still unappeased, " but I wanted to be 
loved best of all the wot Id ! " 

Seldom have I heard from a child the woman's cry so 

clear, .so passionate, so yearning. Zaida — 

r 1 ri " ^^' ^^*^^^ Zaida — I fear me there is trouble, 

great trouble coming up for you over the 

verge of the years. But then you have also your chance 


of the unkenned happiness — the bitter and the sweet in 
balance, one paying for the other in full tale. 

At this point I sent Penique, who had been standing 
aloof, dismayed and partly contemptuous, to the caravan 
for a certain picture-book I chanced to have with me. 
When he brought it, I had some trouble in translating the 
title — " Certain Travels with the Beloved One — the 
Querida of my Heart," was what I made of it. But 
once open, the pictures soon told their own tale. Mr. 
Gordon Browne with his pencil spoke infinitely better 
Spanish than I with my tongue. 

"So she rode with you on an iron waggon which goes 
fast, with wheels fine like a loop of threr.d," was Zaida's 
explanation of my Sweetheart's tricycle. For there were 
none such at that date in all the valley of the Upper Ebro, 
and indeed no roads good enough to run them on, barring 
a few furlongs within the founds of the park of Miranda- 

Above all, one picture in the book fascinated her and 
one chapter. The print showed a little girl lying on her 
face with all her golden hair in the dust, crying bitterly. 
Zaida pointed to certain words at the head of the page. 
" What mean these ? " she demanded. 
" Heart of Gold ! " I answered, which went excellently 
in the sonorous Spanish. 

" Ah," said Zaida, " tell me all about that. Why did 
the little girl cry ? " 

So I told her, translating as best I could the sorrowful 
tale, of how a certain Heart of Gold, tried too high, broke 
suddenly and pitifully in the dust on the King's highway. 
And Zaida taking the truth more from Mr. Browne's 
picture than from my poor stumbling ill-chosen words, 
wept for sympathy. 

"Ah ! " she sighed, as she drew the handkerchief out of 


my breast pocket with fearless comradeship, and dried her 
eyes, " if my father had lived he would have loved me like 
that ! But you, too, you will love me a little, though you 
cannot set me upon the saddle of the iron steed, nor call 
me your Heart of Gold ? " 

There was only one answer to that, and I made it. By- 
and-by, when she had grown a little composed, this eager- 
hearted little maid of Spain, she looked at Penique, who 
was asleep and snoring under the eaves of the great hooded 
chimney. His chin had fallen a little down, and his mouth 
was open. 

** Fauch, a boy ! " said Zaida, crinkling up her nose. 
" I hate boys ! I like grown men. I love you ! " 

" Why ? " said I, speaking quietly, under cover of the 
clashing dominoes. For Andres the overseer and Rodil 
were once more deep in that never-ending game. " Why 
do you love me, Zaida ? You have hardly seen me yet." 

Then seven sighed a sigh which might have done credit 
to twenty, so ripe with womanhood it was. 

"Ah!" said the child, ^^ that I cannot tell. But when 
you came without the door, there in the dusk, / felt it 
here ! " 

"It is only because you see no strange faces," I said, to 
try her. Whereat my youthful analyst of the affections 
shook her head. 

" No," she made emphatic answer, " nor was it your 
face. The Count is handsomer, though he is so much, 
much older — and so are many of the herdsmen. But it 
was — yes, it was " 

She paused. 

" Well, what was it, Zaida ? " 

"/ think it was because when you came ^ you looked at me 

" A good reason ! " I cried, laughing aloud. 


"You must not laugh," said the child, "it is true !" 

And most Hkely true it was — little girls and washer- 
women being ray queridas in the south. For Spanish boys 
are imps, bold and persevering as house-flies, pert as jack- 
daws. Whereas, up to the age of self-consciousness, Spanish 
girls are among the most witching and winsome of God's 

There was in the North (there still is, but, alas ! she 
also has grown somewhat since then) a little Scottish maid 
of three to whom I was accustomed to recount my travels. 
In private life she had her time of laughter and her time 
for tears. So often, therefore, as I found her in one of 
these latter, I would say gravely to her, "Little girls in 
Spain never cry ! " 

Which, by the way, is indeed the rule, Zaida being the 
first I had ever seen shed a tear — and with her it was 
rather a passionate nature throwing itself against the 
bars of circumstance than any proof of childish 

At first our little maid of the North was duly impressed 
by this Spartan trait in the children of the unseen sun- 
lands. But the impression passed off, as impressions too 
often repeated, will , and one day when I had surprised her 
in a very luxury of woe over a broken toy, I said as usual, 
"Little girls in Spain never cry." This time, however, 
she stamped her foot and answered doggedly, ^^ Had ^nuff 
little girls in Spain I " 

After these plain-song declarations of affection I had no 
more chance of intercourse with Z,z\diZ. that night. For 
while she nestled to me trustingly and played with my 
watch-chain, a broad-faced dame appeared in the doorway 
opposite to the great fireplace. 

" Quick, good-night. Embrace me ; there is Dona 


Cristina," she said, clasping my neck, " and she is so par- 
ticular, worse than Andrds ! " 

The little witch vanished through the doorway, turning 
to kiss her hand as she went from behind Cristina's back, 
with a grave earnestness which had nothing frolicsome 
about it. Life was already extremely serious to this mite 
of barely seven. 

The men continued their game. Penique alternately 
whittled a stick and dozed over the fire, while in half-a- 
dozen pots and casseroles simmered the late-coming 
supper of Spain. I sat thinking of the little maid, so 
strangely hidden away in the corner of this great brick 
Castle in the most unfrequented part of Spain. In a pause 
of the game I asked a question. Rodil appeared not to be 
attending. The overseer looked good-humouredly over at 
me, but when he spoke it was not to answer my question. 

"The little lady gives you great favour, Serior," he 

said ; " only with the Count have I ever seen her so 

familiar, and him oftentimes she will not 
Kissing goes j^j^^ , „ 

by Favour ,, ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^ „ j ^^^^^^ though I knew 

he could only mean the owner of the estate. 

** Why, my master, who else ? " answered the overseer 
Andres, " the Count of Miranda- Aran. Whenever he 
comes to see her he makes a great pet of the child, and 
will walk with her in the garden by the hour. She will 
surely take you there to-morrow. But it is a strange place, 
for the Count hath bidden anything that Zaida desires to 
be done as she wishes it. It is a pity so to spoil a child." 

"Is she, then, his daughter?" I asked. For in that 
case it seemed strange to leave a little maid all alone with 
servants. The overseer shrugged his shoulders. 

" I have a good place here," he said. " I am content to 
ask no questions. Doubtless Zaida is the daughter of 


some one, and truly noble of blood, as indeed any one may 
see. These are not the manners of Galicia ! " 

" Does the Count come often ? " I asked as carelessly 
as I could. Andres shrugged his shoulders again. 

" * Yesterday, and again to-morrow,' as the saying is," 
he answered, ** or not for a year and a day ! As to that I 
know nothing." 

As Andres spoke I saw Rodil raise his head cautiously 
from the dominoes, which he was abstractedly playing, 
right hand against left. His brows drew together, and 
then he inclined his head slightly over his shoulder. The 
gesture is indescribable, but when seen cannot be mis- 
taken. He meant that I had asked questions enough, and 
that he would tell me what I wished to know when we 
retired for the night. 

As we went out together after supper, Rodil whispered, 
"They say the Count was much attainted in the Carlist 
rising, and that he is compelled to live far away from his 

" And the little girl ? " I asked, for it was in Zaida that 
I was interested. Rodil laughed to himself contentedly, 
and, as usual, quoted a proverb. 

"A man who falls down a well can see the stars at 
noonday, but he who does not see them hath the unbroken 
bones ! " 

The which, being interpreted, signified that our Rodil 
considered that knowledge might sometimes be paid for at 
too high a rate. 

Now I had been long without books, and furthermore I 
felt in my bones that there was going to be a change in 
the weather. I was within a day's march 
of a town where a good friend of mine, the r "t 
agent of a French banking company, held 
certain wet-day books in store for me — to wit : " Chambers' 


Cyclopaedia of Literature," whose solid tomes on the 
crowded hbrary shelves a man may pass with hasty recog- 
nition, but which, in a foreign land and with only the ruck 
of provincial news-sheets to be had, becomes a perfect Rand 
of unminted gold. There was Mr. H. E. Watts's ** Don 
Quixote," that finest of modern translations ; an original 
" Ford," and old Don George's " Bible in Spain " — a 
very complete traveller's library indeed,* and my soul 
was hungry therefor. But on the other hand I wished to see 
Zaida in her garden, and win more of her sweet childish 

To this desire of mine Rodil instantly agreed, with his 
quick Spanish intuition in all that concerns the young. 
Spain is a good land to be a child in. All Spaniards love 
children and are good to them, though not with the 
swaddling affection of the French. 

Penique couched with Babieca as usual, but Rodil and 
I slept in a chamber, which, though damaged by fire, still 
contained some remains of its ancient magnificence of 
decoration. The actual furniture, however, had long been 
lost, or, at any rate, had disappeared. So that we had, 
perforce, to lie on the floor upon straw mattresses, neither 
over-clean nor over-comfortable. Of the Count's private 
rooms we were not allowed even a peep. 

I made my toilet next morning on the edge of the ancient 
fountain, in whose basin the water still gushed as clearly 
and abundantly as it had done in the year of grace 1541, 
when, according to the date on the chisel-shaped panel 
which Faunus bore on his breast, the water had been led 

- The best guide for tourists in Spain is O'Shea's. It is 
original, concise, accurate — and best of all, is evidently kept 
carefully up to date by some one who knows the cities and towns 
thoroughly. For ordinary Spanish travel no other books are 
needed than those mentioned. 


thither by the Miranda-Aran of that day, a noble who, if he 
were lucky, might have held the hand of Columbus or even 
lived to chuckle over an early copy of Don Quijote. 

Scarcely had I finished when Zaida ran out, and with 
the enthusiasm of the fresh morning time caught me about 
the knees. 

" I have dreamed so much — oh ! so hard all night," she 
cried, " of how I would show you my garden ! And now 
you must see it at once." 

I told her I asked for nothing better. Was it not for 
this that I had remained another day at the Castle of 
Miranda-Aran ? 

" We are to breakfast together," she said, " after we 
have taken our walk. There is much to see and we must 
see it bit by bit." 

Whereupon she took my hand and we set off. In the 
morning sun the ruins of the burned Castle were less 
terrible than (as I had seen them for the first time) in the 
murk of the evening. The corner in which Andres and 
his wife dwelt alone with Zaida had been roughly repaired. 
The rest was in the state in which it had been left when 
the Government troops took it and made short work of the 
Carlist garrison. 

To my surprise I found that Zaida knew all about these 
stirring events. Indeed, a more circumstantial cicerone 
could not have been desired than this little maid who did 
me the honours of Miranda-Aran. 

" Here it was they were 'passed-by-arms,' " she said, " a 
hundred and twenty of them. The Count told me — that 
is how I know. He was there, but because his brother's 
son was fighting on the side of the Government, they let 
him escape. But he had to go far away — yes, far and far 
away — and for many years ! " 

The bricked yard, walled all around, still bore the 



crumbly pock-marks of the bullets, a few scattering high 

_, and some low, but most about the level 

The Court- c » u .. 

of a man s heart. 

" They ran this way and that," the Httle girl 

went on, pointing with her hand as if she saw 

the sight. Her dark eyes glowed, and her hair fell about 

her face. She tossed it back repeatedly that it might not 

hinder her from telling the story dramatically. " The 

Blacks stood in the doorway yonder and shot the Count's 

men as they ran, one here and another there. Some of 

them laughed so that they let fall their guns. The Count 

told me. The officers of Don Carlos's own people .did not 

run. They were shot here, where, as you see, the marks 

of the bullets are many and breast-high. But the others 

— the common sort — -ran. Some tried to climb the walls, 

but they were too high. Only one mounted yonder where 

the cistern stands in the corner, and they say he fell dead 

on the other side. Others ran about on all fours like dogs 

to escape the bullets. They cried and wept. But not 

one had mercy. They all died." 

She straightened herself up and stood against the wall. 

" I would not have run," she said. " I would have 
stood with the officers ! Even thus! What would you 
have done ? " 

I told her I hoped I also should have done that, too — 
but I did not know. 

** Of course you would," she interrupted. " You are not 
like these people }0\x came here with, any more than I am 
like Andres and his wife. They may run and crawl, but 
we . . . dare not!^^ 

" Are they not kind to you ? " I hazarded the question, 
for there was nothing childish or immature in the girl's 
determined expression. 

" Kind 1 — Oh, yes, they are kind," she assented, with 



dispassionate carelessness ; " but, you see — they are not 
as I am. They are no fit company for me. It is better 
when Sister Teresa is here." 

" Who is Sister Teresa ? " I asked. 
" She is Sister Teresa. She teaches me. At present 
she is gone to her convent." 

" You love her ? " 

** Yes." The open Spanish affirmative lends itself to a 
variety of meaning — better than our shut sibilant. Zaida's 
expressed tolerant agreement, with an undercurrent of 
protest. "That is, yes, if she would not be for ever 
teasing me about joining her convent. I will not be a nun. 
I have told her so a thousand times. I will go abroad in 
the world. I will be a great lady. . . . like my mother — 
. . . who, as no doubt they told you, is dead. Do you 
know I pray to her at night ? " 

"You mean," I interposed hastily, thinking that my ear 
had caught the words wrongly, "that you pray to the 
Mother of Jesus." 

" No — no — no ! " she cried. " I pray to her, of course, 
saying the words — as all the world does — even Andres 
and Cristina — and the snuffy old priest down at the village. 
But when they leave me alone and the chamber is dark, it 
is to my own mother whom I have never seen, that I pray ! 
Do you think that is wrong ? " 

She stood by the shattered gate where the Government 
troops had shot down her kindred, an eager vivid little 
figure, all transformed by her own earnestness, every word 
and pose showing the wayward wistful thoughtfulness of 
a child. 

" It is wrong 1 You think it is wicked ! I have told 
no one else — they would not understand. But I thought 
you would ! " 

And she began to cry. 



" No," I said. " No little girl's prayer is ever wrong." 

But 1 had generalised too hastily. 

"What ! " she said, "not when I pray that Andres and 
Cristina and Sister Teresa may all die ? I do sometimes, 
so that I may 
get away from 
here. Of 
course, I hope 
they will go to 
heaven ! " 

I evaded the 
ethical point. 

"But why," 
I said, " do 
you wish them 
to die — if they 
a'r e kind? 
That is surely 
wicked ? " 

"I do not 
wish them to 
die," she said. 
" I only wish 
them not to be 
alive here — in 
this old castle. 
For then the 
Count would 
take me with 

him, and I would live far away and have playmates and 
sweethearts and pretty dresses all my own." 

" How do you know ? " I said. " Who put such 
thoughts into your head ? " 

" Oh, no one," she said ; " they come — 50 ! " 



And spreading her arms wide she joined them above 
her head as if to gather in all the blue-and-white expanse 
of the heavens and the dark green of the flickering tree 

" But," she added, with her considering look on, " some 
things I have learned from Carmelita and Amparo down 
, at the brook yonder, at the edge of the 
^palm-garden which was planted by the 
Count's grandfather. I go there often and 
they tell me tales. It is the best washing-place in the 
country they say. It makes clothes clean just only to 
bring them to look at the water. And I dance for the 
washerwives — that is, after they have told me stories. 
Come with me, and they will be glad to see you also, for 
my sake. What have you in that box? Is it sweet- 
meats ? Oh, it makes pictures. Will you make mine ? 
It must be a pretty one." 

We went down towards the river, and, looking over a 
wall, Zaida showed me her friends — Carmelita, Amparo, 
and their company. The quizzical array of dark eyes was 
embarrassing to a plain man but I was Zaida's guest, and 
— I had my camera. 

In a quarter of an hour I had become quite wise in 
kneading and rolling and rinsing, in wringing, in shaking 
out and in bleaching — learning more in a few minutes of 
the science of making dirty clothes clean again than I had 
found out in thirty years. 

** See — they hold the linen in the stream and let the 
water run through. So it comes clean in a hand-clapping," 
explained Zaida. " Give me your handkerchief and I will 
wash it for you," 

" I would rather see jou dance, Zaida, as you promised," 
I suggested cunningly. 

" Shall I ? Amparo, whistle for me." 


I had expected a guitar at least — but the methods of the 
Count's palm-grove were more primitive. 

Amparo, a heavy, square-jawed, gipsy-faced girl, began 
to whistle — a slow sweet melody with birdlike trills. It 
was not the jota of Aragon nor any other of the well-, 
known dance tunes. Most likely Amparo improvised to 
suit the little figure before her. For Zaida danced forward, 
holding out her skirt daintily, her eyes fixed on the 
musician. At each trill which interrupted the slow soft 
theme, she twirled round with a kind of laughing defiance, 
exactly like a bird flirting its wet feathers in the sunshine. 
Resting from their labours, the other washerwomen used 
their hands as castinets to mark the time, and all moved 
their heads in unison with the lilt of the air. They were, 
on this occasion, not so much an audience as a circle of 
admiring friends anxious for the success of a debutante. 
So that, when I applauded heartily, they all looked at each 
other well pleased, smiling and nodding. Zaida came 
forward and kissed my hand, whereat the kindly folk 
clapped their hands all over again, as at the courreous end 
of a performance. 

After this we said our good-byes and crossed together 

some stretches of verdant field, half meadow, half watered 

garden, where the crickets were twirring in 

shrill myriads among the grass. Then 

1 r 1 11 1 - • Furtner 

came clumps ot trees, and tall whispering p. . ,, 

cane-brakes, which told plainly enough that 

water was near. Presently we discovered the source of 

all this fertility in a splendid old noria, or waterwheel, 

whose plan (and possibly whose execution also) was 

coeval with the Moors. In the shadow of the leaves it 

made a striking picture. As we came nearer, a man 

approached from the river bank and harnessed a fine mule 

to the long sweep-pole of the noria. 


It was Andres, but the little girl never even looked at 
him. Her gaze was fixed upon the mule. 

'* Dear Matador ! " she murmured, and ran to the 
animal which fawned upon her almost like a dog. 

" There is no one who dares to go near him but only 
Andres and I," she said, "and Andres only when he has 
a stick. They call him the * wicked one.' He kicked off 
the priest on his way to altar service. Truly you know 
you did, bad Matador, and the holy father cursed you for 
it. Well for you that 3'ou are a mule and no Christian ! 
For if you had been a Christian I know who would get 
you ! The Black Man with the horns ! " 

The mule kept all the time thrusting forward his 
ears with an evident pleasure which surprised me. 
For no animal is more dourly unresponsive than a 
mule, or so free from any desire for mere human 

Andres asked Zaida to step aside that Matador might 
begin his work. Then with a groaning of ungreased 
axles and a splashing of cool well-water Matador moved 
round his circle, and each time as he came past the 
place where Zaida stood, he turned his head in her direc- 
tion to see that the child was still there, anon bending 
himself more vigorously than before to the driving 

The grounds of the castle of Miranda-Aran were very 
extensive, but the Count had let them go back to a 
state of nature. The great pinewood on 
the northern slope, which his grandfather 
had planted, was a wilderness of tall reeds, 
ferns, and climbing vines. At certain hours of the 
morning the sunshine shone through it as down some 
glade of Eden, glorifying everything. A hill-brook making 
its way over white stone to the Ebro, glided unseen 




beneath. Many such I have seen among the Pyrenees, 
but never one so far south as this. 

" I call it the Gate of Pearl," said Zaida, as we paused 
on the opposite bank and looked up the hillside towards 
the plateau of Aragon. And indeed the name was nowise 
ill chosen. For the pale blues and the orange tinges on the 
dense fern-growths that hid the water-courses and the 
deeper sapphire and opaline smoke of the charcoal- 
burners' establishment, floating sun-touched among the 
tall pine stems, certainly drew the eyes upward, with a 
kind of expectation that within the Gate of Pearl one 
might see the City of the Twelve Foundations. 

The little girl, a true beauty lover, stood entranced, 
worshipping, her eyes great and black. Then quite 
suddenly she turned to me and said, looking up, " I shall 
love all these things more now — when you are gone — 



because it was I who told you the names of them — 
because you and I saw them together." 

She paused a moment and then added, with a certain 
sad premature wisdom, " But — they will make my heart 
sore too ! " 

And with the swift gesture of a daughter of the South 
she laid both her hands palm downwards upon her breast, 
one upon the other, and bowed her head. I think a sob 
reached my ear — a very little one. 

There was silence after this. We passed through a 
picturesque old gateway, round the corner of what had 
been the servants' quarters. There were pigeons flutter- 
ing and strutting about the roofs and a little farther on 
stood the waggon, with Penique playing at nine-pins in 
the dust of the yard, and our travelling merchant earning 
his keep by mending the great blue umbrellas of Andres 
and his spouse. 

I called out a greeting, but the little girl bore steadily 
upon my hand. 

" Come away," she said " do not waste time with such 
people. I have still many things to show you. Let us 
go out upon the highway. They do not allow me to go 
there by myself But with you, Dame Cristina would not 
dare to chide. Come ! " 

We passed down the brae, where I could still see the 
scrape of Babieca's hoofs of the night before, and so up 
again and out upon the great Ebro Valley highway. 

" Look, look — Sancho Panza ! " cried Zaida, laughing, 

and I was in time to mark down a glimpse 

of a stout- waggoner seated on his ox 

p team, taking a plenary swig at his leather 


When he saw the camera he slapped his (lower) chest 
with great amiability, and cried out good-humouredly, 



" Share with me then, Dona Dulcinea — you and your 
honoured knight ! " 

For we were on the frontiers of La Mancha, where 
every one knows his Don Quijote as well as his mother's 


house-place. The man passed on, taking suck after suck 
at his wine-skin till it was flat as a pancake fresh from the 
grid. Then he flourished it in the air with a gallant 
gesture and lifted his ox-goad. It was time to be getting 
home now, when the * little cow ' which gives the ruddy 
milk had ceased her yield ! Up with the goad, then, and 
at 'em ! But, as usual, the great black beasts lifted hoof 
never a whit the quicker either for shout or goad. 


The long wall of the Count's orchard shut in the woods 
as well as his gardens. Outside there was only the dusty 
uneven highway and a broken, broomy, cactus-strewn 
waste, which the irrigating Ebro waters did not reach. 
As we looked across we saw a party at lunch in their 
camp — all women, a mule tethered near by also taking a 
scanty meal. 

" Come," said Zaida, quickly, " these are friends of 
mine — real gipsies of Soria. Their men are away horse- 
coping at the fair of Zaragoza ; and one of them, Red 
Mary, the one nearest to the mule, cannot go because in 
that town she has not served her last sentence for fortune- 

" An excellent reason," I said ; " but, tell me, does 
Cristina know of your friendship with these gipsy folk ? " 
"No," said Zaida indifferently, "in what way does the 
matter concern her ? " 

" Is she not here, with Andrds, that she may look after 

The little girl laughed. 

" Cristina lives at the Castle, not to look after rae, but 
to mend my clothes and to lace my boots," she answered, 
haughtily as any young princess. 

" Then who looks after you, Zaida ? " 
" I look after myself, and my dear mother looks down 
from heaven and tells me if I do wrong ! " 
" But Sister Teresa ? " 

" Oh, I tell her what to do, and if she does not do it — 
why then, I run away and hide. She is good and holy, 
but somewhat heavy of the foot. Our good Sister Teresa 
grows old ! " 

Suddenly Zaida clapped her hand, not on that little 
semi-Oriental breast in which her vivid and sudden 
emotions went and came so passionately, but somewhat 



lower, even as Sancho Panza of the leather bottle had 
done on the highway. 

" Holiest Virgin, but I am so hungry," she cried ; " it 
will be time for second breakfast by this time. Let us go 
back ! " 

As I had broken my fast on a thimbleful of stiff choco- 
late and a glass of spring water, my objec- 
tions were feeble. 

As we went Zaida somewhat modified _.. 

T^ ^. • . Discovery 

her statements concernmg Uona Cnstina. 

" It is better not to say anything as to where we have 
been or whom we have spoken with." She volunteered 
the suggestion in an ofT-hand detached manner, as if she 
were telling me wholly for my own good. 

" But," said I, " I thought Dona Cristina was not in 
authority over you." 

"Nor is she," said the small autocrat, "but she can 
carry tales when the Count comes. And why do you 
call her Dona ? She is no more * Dona ' than . . . that 
green frog in the pond yonder ! " 


We went back through the picturesque gateway to the 
corner of the house where we found Rodil and Penique, 
sitting down with Andres and his wife. A table was laid 
for Zaida apart in an inner room which still showed traces 
of profuse carving and lavish decoration. But this division 
of the party that little lady would by no means permit. 
I must dine with her, or she would not dine at all, and 
she flung her knife and fork down on the floor forthwith, 
as a gage of battle. Cristina and her husband conferred 
together. I heard them say, " Better let her have her 
way. The Count may be here any day now." 

So presently my place was set, to the huge amusement 
of Rodil, in the inner room along with the imperious 
young chatelaine of the Castle. Cristina waited upon us 
with a broad smile on her face, and it was a lesson in 
heredity to see how instinctively this child, who had never 
within her memory been outside the bounds of the estate 
(save trespassing for a stolen hour on the highway), did 
the honours of the mansion of which she considered her- 
self the mistress. 

Sister Teresa's powers of teaching French had been, 
naturally, somewhat limited, and Zaida had sometimes 
great difficulty in following when I filled up a chasm in 
my halting Castilian with a convenient phrase from across 
the mountains. But we understood each other mar- 
vellously well, and by and by Zaida ventured blushingly 
into French herself — I fear more for the pleasure of 
"intriguing" the listening Cristina, than to make me 
understand more clearly. 

It took the little girl all that day to show me the 
remaining treasures of her wide and solitary domain — the 
thatched huts in the little palm-grove, where she often sat 
in state as an Indian queen and received the homage of 
those notable tributary chiefs. Esparto Grass, Potato 


Flower, and White Cotton-Tail. My representation of 
these characters was so successful that it was with 
difficulty and even a suspicion of tears, that I was finally 
allowed to disrobe, and become again, as Zaida remarked, 


" nobody in particular ! " We went down to the water- 
side to see Carmelita hang out her clothes, which in the 
fresh-blowing afternoon proved a pretty sight enough. 

Then, with a kind of hushed terror in her voice, Zaida 
told me that there was yet one thing more to show me — 
the Dwarf ! 

Zaida clasped my hand rather closely as we took our 
way towards the little tile-roofed village from which 
Carmehta and Amparo had come forth with their dirty 
linen in the morning. Women with dripping baskets on 



their heads trudged along beside us, and of course all oi 
them saluted Zaida. As we entered the narrow unclean 
village streets Zaida asked me suddenly if I had got a 

" I would ask for a ' perro chico^ " she said, " but that 
is too much like a beggar. So lend me a real — and I will 
give you back the change." 

I exhibited the coin gladly, and she went into one of 
the open booth shops, which clustered against the wall. 
" Chocolates of the best mark — so many for a * little 
dog' — so many more for a 'great dog.'" That was 
Zaida's order. 

When she came out I wanted her to eat one, but she 
said indignantly, " If they had been for myself, do you 
think I would have asked for the money, Senor? No, 
Don Esteban, I have been well brought up. They are 
for the dwarf, the Cagot who lives by the Well-House of 
the village." 

I had seen many such unfortunate creatures in the 
mountains, and had no desire to interview another. But 
I was surprised when, in shade of the newly-washed 
clothes, which were pegged to a line attached to the well- 
arch, I saw what I first of all took to be a child with an 
enormous head. This was "Juan's Tizia," the daughter 
of a well-known carpenter of Miranda-Aran. She was 
thirty-three years of age, but in expression and behaviour 
she appeared like a child of less than two. Only her 
head had grown to woman's size, and had left her poor 
body so far behind that she sat easily in a baby's chair. 
Zaida gave her the entire packet of chocolates " of a 
good mark," and the poor child-monster could haraly 
convey them fast enough to her mouth. Seeing this, the 
woman who was in charge of her during her father's 
absence endeavoured to take the chocolates away gently. 


for the purpose of doling them out to her one by one. 
But as soon as Juan's Tizia reahsed that her treasure was 
escaping her, she bent towards the woman's hand and bit 
her sharply on the thumb. 

" Very well," said the nurse, " wait till Juan, your 


father, comes home to-night. Then wicked Tizia will be 
whipped and shut in the dark closet where , 

the Bad Man lives." ^^^. ^ 

Whereat the poor half-witted thing 
grovelled and wept, pleading that her father might not be 

" Is Tizia sorry, then ? " demanded the woman severely, 
tying up her thumb in a piece of rag. 

" Tizia sorry — Tizia much, much sorry ! " cried the 
dwarf, beating the hot white paving stones with her hands 


as she lay on her face. The woman held out her other 
hand for the sweetmeats without speaking. I could see 
the fingers of the dwarf girl crisp with desire to fly at her 
keeper's throat. Her teeth gritted audibly upon one 

"Quick ! " said the woman. And Tizia gave the paper 
of chocolates without a word. 

" It is only her father and the threat of telling him that 
can put her in fear — also she is strong. See — she has 
left her mark ! " 

She held up her thumb in the linen rag. 

" Of course," she explained, " I am not ill paid for this, 
and most days Tizia is no great trouble ; but now the 
children are preparing their dresses for first communion, 
and that always excites her." 

We went slowly back to the Chdteau, and on entering 
the yard we were, I think, equally astonished to find the 
blue-tilted caravan ready for the road, Babieca harnessed, 
and Penique arranging the chain of the wheel-drag ready 
for passing down the steep hill which led from the Castle 
to the highway. Zaida turned to me a face sharp with 
sudden woe. The tears sprang to her eyes. 

" You are going away and you never told me — you do 
not love me — not even a little ! " 

I was also astonished, and answered that I knew noth- 
ing about the matter. But before Zaida had time to 
reply, Cristina swooped down and seized her. 

" Quick ! " she cried, " come and have your best dress 

put upon you and be cleaned. What a time is this to be 

standing in foolish speech with a stranger ! 

^ The Count and his brother are on the 

^, -, threshold. Their horses are almost at the 

the Men . r , , . , t^ 

crossing ot the bridge. rra3' the saints 

that brat may get his waggon down the hill and be safe 


out on the highway before they arrive — for his Excellency 
loves not strangers ! " 

The wife of Andres looked at me as she spoke. The 
hint was at least a plain one. I stooped hastily to 
kiss Zaida good-bye, whispering to her, " Keep the 
book about the little girl in Scotland." I would not 
delude her with any hopes of ever coming that way 

But she made me no answer, only breaking forth into a 
very torrent of sobs, in the midst of which she was 
removed by the justly indignant and bewildered Cristina. 
That good lady muttered what seemed like a malediction 
upon all intrusive foreigners, mingled with beseechings to 
her beloved Zaida to dry her eyes on the pain of having 
a " pig's face" when the Count came. What would he 
say if his little maid were all be-blubbered — and all 
because of a stranger — one who went the country with a 
beggar's van ? But Zaida cried not one whit the less 
bitterly for that. 

Somewhat sadly I crossed the wide court-yard, and 
slanting sharply to the right I took my way through 
the palm groves to the river's brink. I could see two 
figures just turning into the little avenue of dark yew 
trees which led to the Castle. And in my ears was 
the sad last cry of my sometime friend : "I do not 
wanl to see the Count — I do not wani to be good. 
He will go away thinking I do not love him — ah, 
cruel ! " 

But the stranger did not think what Zaida feared — 
indeed, quite otherwise. Yet his thoughts were none 
the brighter because of that, for he cast his mind for- 
ward and wondered and feared what should become of 
this swift, passionate, love-hungry, impatient spirit in 
the years to come. 


" God help the maid ! " was all I could say. And then, 
and last of all, " God keep the woman ! " 

The two riding figures came slowly past me up the hill 
deep in talk. One was Don Manuel Sebastian and the 
other — the Bishop of El Seo. 






to Zaida 

I TOOK my last 
look of Miran- 
da-Aran from 
the veigt of the 
table- land 
which over- 
looked the 
valley. Though 
my acquain- 
tance with the 
place and with 
its impulsive 
little mistress was hardly more 
than a matter of hours, it may 
be confessed that there was 
a certain tightness about my 
heart as I looked back. 
Yonder were the naked pin- 
nacles the fire had blackened 
■ — far beneath the white 
banners of the washer- 
women, Amparo, Carmelita^ 


and the rest — row on row along the river bank, while 
from an upper balcony Zaida herself, escaped from her 
nurse, waved a frantic handkerchief. 

But my crowning perplexity was to form any theory 
which would connect my sometime friends Don Manuel 
Sebastian and the Bishop of El Seo with the little maid at 
Miranda-Aran, whose heart had been so quickly moved by 
" one who knew about little girls." As much as I could, I 
tried to keep my mind from the problem, for, after all, it 
was no affair of mine. There had been much that was 
mysterious about the Sebastians of San Severino, and I 
took credit to myself for prying no further than circum- 
stances had compelled me into their secrets. As for the 
Bishop of El Seo, all my attention had been given to the 
man of God, his loneliness, his childlike simplicity. Of 
the man him.self, or of his family I knew nothing. 

The caravan was already some distance on in front, 
swagging painfully across the plain on the evilly-paven 
highway which leads towards Zaragoza and the north. 
As usual, the road ran straight and even to the horizon. 
Vast, naked, to the eye featureless, the plain was still 
not uniformly level, for many barrancas, or dry torrent 
beds, cut across it here and there. However, as no 
one could distinguish one of these a hundred yards in 
advance, the first token of their presence was usually 
afforded to Rodil and myself by a sudden tilting of the 
blue-covered waggon, and Penique's warning shout to 
Babieca to be careful. This, however, was superfluous. 
It was Babieca who should have shouted to Penique. 

Right and left the young wheat made all the landscape 
a marvel of keen emerald and veridian. There was not a 
tree to be seen. We had not gone a mile before the valley 
of the Ebro had disappeared entirely, and only the snow 
in the gashes of Moncayo and on one or two peaks of the 


high Sierras to the north remained to remind us that the 
whole world was not as flat as a ball-room floor. 
Occasionally a shepherd herded his flock carefully along 
the margins of the fields, or set them nibbling by the 
roadside, "Whether or not the sheep were ever permitted 
a sly bite at the young wheat I do not know, but when we 
saw them they were shouldering and pushing each other 
towards the forbidden ground exactly like mischievous 
schoolboys. It was hot on the wide plain, and, of 
course, water was not to be had. For we had left 
the Castle in too great a hurry to think of replenishing 
our skins. There was wine indeed, but I was fated 
to learn again that wine by itself is no Christian, and 
that it will not quench thirst unless it is first well 

I had made up my mind that I had looked my last upon 
my small friend Zaida of the Garden, and so, with what 
philosophy I might, I composed myself to open a new 
book of my wandering Odyssey. All about me the young 
green of the wheat was shot with silver and opal as the 
wind swirled and eddied. As for Zaida's garden, it lay 
back there, sunk out of sight, in the pit of the Ebro 
Valley, with Andres and Cristina and Amparo and 
Carmelita, together with several other things which my 
eyes would see no more. 

This reflection was made with my head bowed on my 
breast and my feet trudging slackly through the dust. 
Rodil paced alongside — silent, deep also, to all appearance, 
in his own thoughts. Suddenly he turned and looked 
back along the road. We were winding up the weary 
zigzag of a barranca, or dry ravine. 

" It seemed that I heard a call," he said. Then he 
lifted up his voice and shouted to Penique. But as for 
Penique, having mounted himself on the little driving 


shelf of the waggon as soon as Babieca reached the 
summit, nothing was farther from his mind than 
crying out. 

"Yet I am certain I heard something," Rodil repeated, 
as we looked around us in all directions. There was no 
apparent source or cause — not a tree, not a house, not a 
person, only the deep blue sky above and beneath the 
rippHng emerald sea of the wheat — while in front, amid 
the swirling dust of the highway, loomed up the huge 
hump of the waggon, with Babieca and Penique equally 
lost to sight beyond it. 

"Senores, wait, I pray you! '^ 

The long Castilian vowels lengthened themselves inter- 
minably. There could be no mistake this 
time. Some one was calling us. But to + r +1, 
all appearance the world lay blank as a v 'H 
test-map, in which are outline and colour 
only. Rodil made a trumpet of his hands and blared 
into the vague. 

" Where are you ? " he shouted ; " we cannot see ! " 

" Here — to the right ! A la derecha-a ! In the bar- 
ranca-a-a ! " 

Mountainous Spain is a country of magnificent distances, 
and possesses a magnificent language for shouting across 
them. Even yet, however, we could see nothing. But 
presently, shading our eyes from the dust and sun-glare, 
Rodil and I made out a shape, small and inconsequent, as 
that of a flitting butterfly, which approached us from the 
depths of the gully. The creature came rapidly, springing 
up the sheer side like a very kid of the goats. And in a 
moment, lo ! breathless, panting, but triumphant, there 
came running to us across the green braird of the wheat 
— Zaida herself ! 

At first I thought that something terrible had happened 


at the Castle — some sudden-falling destruction out of the 
clearness of the sky. 

I did not know Zaida very well then. 

Rodil and I only stood and stared. We gasped, " Why 
— why ? " And we kept on saying that. 

Nor did she keep us long in suspense. 

" They are come," she said, sitting down among the 
young wheat that came right to the roadside, and lifting 
her skirt informally to wipe her brow, " and they said 
I was to go on abiding there alone with Andres and 
Cristina — nay, without even Sister Teresa. ' I will not,' 
said I. And so I have run away to travel all about the 
world with you. I will stay by the waggon — yes, even 
with yonder silly boy in it ! And, oh, I am dying for a 
drink of water ! " 

Alas ! even when the water was provided out of our 

scanty store, the situation was more grave than either of 

us cared to face. I was accustomed to cats 

and dogs attaching themselves on short 

acquaintance, but little girls with mysterious 

protectors — there lay a difference. And in Spain, too, 

-where it is more than usually dangerous to meddle in other 

men's matters. 

Meantime, Zaida sat and looked at us, uncertain as to 
what we would do, forgetting even to ask for more 

Rodil put his fingers to his mouth and produced a long 
melancholy call, half whistle, half " coo-ee." 

" Four hundred devils take that boy," he muttered; "he 
is asleep again. I will tan the lazy hide upon his back 
when I catch him ! " 

But at that moment the waggon slewed slowly about, 
and the head of Penique appeared round the tilt to 
inquire, a black dot looking back to see what was wanted. 

7 '■^mi^^^'^- 




Rodil signed him to return, and in a little the caravan had 
tacked and Babieca was heading towards us again. I am 
sure that at that moment the Copper's thoughts were 
prayers. For Penique was a gregarious boy, and by nature 
he loved towns and the swarming bustle of streets. He 


endured the country for the most part silently, because he 
had a father who loved it. But he did not rejoice in the 
business of camping out, and, above all, he hated little 
lonely farmhouses, where there were no boys to play at 
ninepins, to toss for "little dog," or merely to rough- 
and-tumble with in the dust of the highway. 

But we wasted no time. In five minutes we had Zaida 
out of the sun and tasting a little wine mixed with some 
drops of often-boiled water which had been discovered in 
the bottom of the kettle. But, in spite of our entreaties, 
she utterly refused to turn back without conditions made, 


and we were nonplussed by the resolution of so young a 

" No," she cried, " I will not go back — at least, not to stay 
in that place with Andres and Cristina — people wanting 
manners. It is not fitting " 

" Come back with me," I said at last. " I will speak with 
the Count and his brother. I know them." 

" Know them ? " Zaida cried, greatly surprised ; " surely 
in this you are mistaken. The Count comes but seldom 
here, and his brother, the old priest, even I have never 
seen him before — that is, to remember. How, then, can 
you, a stranger, know the Count of Miranda-Aran and 
his brother ? " 

" Nevertheless, I know them both," I said, " and they 
would blame me sorely if anything happened to you, little 
Zaida " 

" Ah ! you are afraid ! " she said, her voice suddenly 
changing and her eyes flashing fire. (She stretched out 
her arm and pointed over the waste.) *' Go 
—I do not want you ! " she cried. " I am ^ 5^°f^*^ 
not afraid ! I told them I would run away, 
and I have done so. I will not go back! There is always 
the Frenchwoman's Pool ! " 

Now was the time to find out how much of influence I 
possessed. So I went to her and sat on the low seat ot 
the waggon which Penique had vacated. 

" Zaida," I whispered, " if the little ' Heart of Gold ' in 
Scotland were to run away, would not my heart be 

" Not if she ran to you, it would not ! " she answered, 
beginning to sob softly and continuously, perhaps knowing 
that I had set out to persuade her. 

" But the Count — his brother — they love you, I am 
sure. At least, I know the old priest does ." For I 


remembered my picture of the little maiden in the snow 
he had looked at so often in the cloisters of La Delicia. 

" They do not ! — They do not ! " she cried, striking the 
rough floor of the tilt-cart with her tiny palm, " or they 
would not speak of leaving me alone there in that burned 
house — with only Andres and " 

" But you forget, Zaida," I persisted, " there are your 
friends also, Amparo and Carmelita ! " 

** They are washer-girls — I am a Senorita ! " she cried. 
" If you do not take me with you — if you are afraid, I 
swear to the saints I will drown myself in the Ebro — I 
know the place ! It is where the Frenchwoman drowned 
herself when I was little. Amparo saw them take her out. 
There was a smile on her face, she says." Doubtless it 
was a girl's foolish threat, but yet there was a passionate 
earnestness and an impulsive fire about the maid that I 
did not like. 

" Well, I will go with you, Zaida," I repeated ; " we 
will all go back, and I will speak with Don — with the 
Count and with his brother. Perhaps there is some other 
way out of it than that you should remain alone in the 
Castle with only Andres." 

At this point Rodil whispered in my ear and looked 
towards the west. We had not long to make up our 
minds. The sun was dropping fast, and already the 
valley of the Ebro had become only a trough of blue mist. 

"Trust me, Zaida," I said, somewhat desperately, "I 
will speak with your friends, I promise you. I know they 
will listen when I speak ! " 

It was an all too bold assertion, but anything was better 
than that Zaida should be lost all night from her home. 
For I knew that the Count would never rest until he 
found her. 

"Very well then," she said, a slow temperate decision 


in her speech, " I take your word. I will go back with 
you. But remember, if it falls out otherwise, what I have 
said I will do. I will not be left alone again. The day I 
am left alone with only Andres and Cristina, I will — go 
down there to the Frenchwoman's Pool I " 

We turned back, Penique speechless in a deep fit of the 
sulks, his father Rodil with his usual calm philosophy. 
AH places are the same to the man * whose 
mind his kingdom is.' I took Zaida on my .f^^c^f/^ 
back and ran races with Babieca, or danced 
double shuffles in the dusty road till that small and diffi- 
cult person fairly chinked with laughter, quite forgetting, 
as I sneezed with the dust, all the passion and tragedy of 
five minutes before. 

But when we came to the verge of the tableland, and 
looked down through the first sprinkle of the spring 
greenery on the fair valley of the Upper Ebro and the 
ruined buildings of Miranda-Aran, I heard her suddenly 
catch her breath and sob. 

" Set me down," she commanded soberly. " Remember, 
Sefior, I will do what you say because you say it. But — 
if you leave me alone again in this place, I warn you I 
have it in me — to do the other as well 1 " 

We descended into the misty gloom which filled the 
valley, as water fills a pot, and at the foot, near the little 
clump of palm-trees, Rodil paused and spoke with 

"We will make camp here, Penique and I," he said, 
" do you go on and make what speed you can with your 
affairs. We will await your return." 

Down by the Ebro-side, or rather in among the wide 
sands and gravels which it deposits in winter, is a small 
triangular pitch of green turf, and on one corner, shel- 
tered by great trees, a scrap of ruined wall breaks the 


valley wind. On the lee side of this last we found the 
marks of many fires. It was not the first time that 
the wandering folk had made their bivouac there, outside 
the bounds of Miranda-Aran. 

" Here we will await your return," repeated Rodil, "go 
thou . . . with God ! " 

In a general way Rodil did not lavish benedictions, and 
his grave air as well as his words intimated that he con- 
sidered the situation a serious one. I had, I thought, 
reason for thinking otherwise. So I took Zaida by 
the hand and we turned once more up the brae. Lights 
were wandering here and there as if a search was in 
progress, and as we came near the house some one rode 
furiously down the road towards the bridge. Zaida said 
nothing, but I could feel her clutch tighten upon my hand. 
I stooped and lifted her up, and as I did so I could hear 
quite plainly the jolting beat of her little heart. 

"You are frightened?" I said gently, as I settled her 
on my shoulder. She was small for her age — slim — 
indeed a very featherweight when compared with northerly 
children reared on beef and oatmeal. 

" No, I do not think I am frightened," she said, " only 
the Count has never been angry with me before ! " 

" He will not be angry now, littlest ! " I answered, 
" take hold of my hair — there, under the cap at the back ! " 

We came out on the wide green space in front of the 
house. The gables and broken pinnacles stood forth ink- 
black against the full orange of the sunset. Before the 
great doorway two men were walking, deep in conversa- 
tion. As Zaida and I came towards them they turned and 
looked at us. The taller took a step or two forward 
hastily and then stopped. 

" It is the Englishman I " he said. " What do you 
here, sir ? " 


"And with your little maid, you would ask me, Don 
Manuel," I answered steadily. " Indeed, you may well 

I set down Zaida, and she flung herself into the arms 
of Don Manuel Sebastian, sobbing. " Let me go away," 
she cried, " I cannot stay here any longer ! " 

" What is this — what is this ? " The Count bent down 
and lifted her up in his turn. As he did so the other, 
who was clad in simple priest's dress, drew near, and in 
the twilight peered somewhat anxiously into my face. 

" Ah," he said, " it is Jiiy Englishman — he who came to 
me at La Delicia. All is well — he loves children. I 
know it." 

It was the sole virtue upon which they could reckon, 
but it stood me in good stead. Zaida was already pour- 
ing her tale into the ear of Don Manuel, and long before 
she had finished my former host of San Severino held out 
his hand. 

"You must think we are compact of mysteries, we 
Sebastians, but there need be none about this little maid. 
You know my brother here is the Bishop of El Seo. 
Well, he was a soldier once before he was a priest, and he 
had one only son. This is thai son^s daughter / " 

As he spoke Don Manuel put down the little girl. The 
Bishop laid his hand upon her head, and I think he prayed. 

" She calls you the Count of Miranda-Aran," I went on, 
hardly knowing what to say, " and I have only known 
you as Don Manuel Sebastian ? " 

" I have a right to both names," said my friend, smiling, 
" but during the war the peasantry and the troops together 
burned this my house, and, as you under- 
stand, I have never been reconciled with 
^ the Government. So it is best for me 

to abide near the frontier, where, as you have seen, 



my sons and I have found means to make ourselves 
respected. But I come here when it is safe — as now, 
when the Government at Madrid has its hands full over- 
seas. Also, for 
the first time in 
many years, my 
brother accom- 
panies me." 

Don Manuel 
(to call him by 
the old name) 
glanced over his 
shoulder to see 
where Zaida and 
the Bishop were 
walking. Then 
he added in a 
low tone, " and, 
indeed, I think 
it was none other 
than yourself 
who sent him 
hither ! " 

" / send him 
here!'''' I stam- 
mered, too sur- 
prised to say 

" Yes, with your picture of the little Scottish maid eat- 
ing her cake in the snow ! Nothing else ! That, he con- 
fessed, set his heart on the vanities of the flesh. So he 
has come with me to see his 'God's babe.'J' 

" His son, then, is dead ? ' 

Don Manuel nodded. 



"Aye, surely," he continued, "or my brother would 
never have been a Bishop." 

I dared not ask any more, but all the same I longed to 
know of that prodigal son's life. I knew at once, by 
Don Manuel's tone, that there was something very tragic 

" That son," he went on, " was, as you may judge, no 
father's comfort. My lads are men, and, I grant you, 
possess among them pretty much all a strong man's faults. 
But this Don Alonso had in him all the devils, besides 
being a boaster and a traitor. He became of the police and 
— he died not well. Even my brother does not know how. 
So, when his son was dead, my brother, thinking himself 
the last of his family, and his mind lying naturally to 
holiness, at last permitted them to make him a Bishop. 
Then a strange thing happened," 

Don Manuel was silent awhile, as was his custom when 
he had something of importance to relate, like a man who 
arranges his sentence in a foreign tongue before he com- 
mits himself to speech. 

" It was the high day of the enthronement," he went on, 
" and all the clergy of the diocese were there to kiss the 
hand of the new Bishop. You know the cathedral of El 
Seo — yes, I heard that you spent some time there. I had 
not thought you so well affected to the reUgion. At any 
rate, you remember the aisles, two on either side, and in 
the centre the choir. There is also a way kept clear 
for the processions. And when the Bishop, my brother, 
was seated in his chair, lo ! a woman came swiftly up one 
of these. She turned the corner of the coro, and, running 
past the priests, laid a baby at the Bishop's feet, even upon 
the very skirt of his robes, crying, "Holy father, behold 
your son ! " 

" Yes, doubtless at the time it was great scandal, and 


had almost broken any man except my brother down to 

the ground, as a thistle is broken with a stick. But when 

they took the woman and made her speak, she professed 

that she was Don Alonso's wife — and that he had married 

her in France, near to Toulouse. But he had left her 

penniless and with the child yet to be born. So when it 

came she nursed it awhile, keeping silence and brooding 

on her purpose. Then suddenly, fleeing by night, she 

made her way across the mountains, God 

alone knows how. For it was the depth of 
, •• 1 • . 1 1 scorned 

the terrible winter when the passes were 

shut full four months. And, after all, on her arrival she 

found only her husband's grave. He died for treachery, 

as I told you, and in her poor brain she judged it must 

have been his father who had delivered him up. (It was 

not — though, indeed, it was a certain near relative who 

cleared the family dishonour.) And so she waited the 

Bishop's enthronement to take her vengeance. 

" They took her, still laughing, to the madhouse, but 

on the seventh day she escaped, and — by some strange 

knowledge, or profiting by some hint of Don Alonso's, she 

followed her child, tracking us step by step, even as she had 

done her husband across the mountains. Then she lurked 

in the woods and in the caves of the river-bank, waiting 

for a chance to steal the maid back again. And once 

when the nurse had been careless, she leaped through a 

window and carried off the babe from its very cradle. 

But Andres, being near, gave chase, and without doubt 

would have caught the poor mad thing, save that she 

sprang into the pool on the Ebro, beneath the bridge, the 

same they call the ' Frenchwoman's Pool ' to this very 

day ! " 

" And she was drowned ? " I asked. 

" She fought for the child like a wild cat — Andres bears 



the marks to this hour. He won the child, however, and 
as soon as she found that she could not keep that, she caught 
at the cane-brake roots in the pool bottom and so died, 
gripping with her elbows interlocked. It took three men, 
good swimmers, to bring the body up out of the water ! " 

As he spoke, I remembered with a sudden thrill Zaida's 
threats that she 
would drown 
herself. "In 
the French- 
woman's pool," 
she had said — 


CALL " frenchwoman's POOL " 

the same from which they had taken her mother out 
" with a smile on her face," as Amparo bore witness, 
who had stood on the bank and watched. 

Then I told Don Manuel all that had befallen since I 
had left El Seo — of Rodil and Marinessia and the love of 
Bifio. Like a true Spaniard, he said nothing, but followed 
my tale with grave attention, ever courteous and patient. 
That he denied himself even a cigarette was proof incon- 
testable of his interest. 

" Yes. You have the strange English itch to find things 
out," he said at length. " Why not be content ? In my 


life I have found out too much — experienced too many 
things. Now I am satisfied to sit still and let things 
happen. So will you, Sefior, when you come to my age. 
Of that I make no doubt at all ! " 

Then, seeing that the Bishop and his little grand- 
daughter were going in by the door, I proceeded to urge 
Don Manuel to take Zaida away from a place where she 
had no companions, and to place her among girls of her 
age. Suddenly Zaida turned on the threshold and called 
back a word. 

"You will not go away and leave me without warning," 
she said, "if you do — well, I have told you what will 

Then I recounted to Don Manuel all, how she had 
threatened to throw herself into the same pool in which 
her mother had been drowned. The old man sighed and 
looked troubled, shaking his head from time to time, but 
hearing me out. 

" It is a terrible thing to guide aright the daughter of 
such parents," he said. " God only knows what will come 
of it. My brother is, of course, all for the religious life. 
But — I have had daughters of my own, and I am sure that 
in a few years, to be a nun would either kill our Zaida or 
she would run away to a great disgrace ! " 

For long Don Manuel and I walked to and fro under 
the stars, silent mostly, but speaking at times of the 
strange chances of life, of the heritage of birth, and of 
what in the end shall be accounted to a man or a woman 
for good and evil. 

" My brother and I," he said presently, " hold the strange 
heresy that it is better to be of a poor religion than to 
have none. Also I am sure that not every woman is fitted 
to be shut up for life in a nunnery ! " 

" Why not take Zaida with you to San Severino ? " I 


suggested, " she would have all the liberty there she 
needs, with abundant companionship." 

"Ah, too much — too much," he repeated, as if the 
thought had not come for the first time. " She would run 
wild there. And then there is Dona Isidra, my daughter 
— it is not good that a child should grow up side by side 
with such sadness — certainly not the child of Alonso my 
nephew and the Frenchwoman. It is the middle course 
which is difficult to find." 

Then his thoughts took a new direction. 

" What was it you told me just now of our excellent 
Bino ? " he asked suddenly. 

** He is to be married," I answered, " to Marinessia Alva, 
the traveller's daughter — she who across the mountains 
won the palms, and the pension which is her dowry. 
They are going to settle on his farm in the Ariege — I 
think, near Les Cabanes." 

" Ah," said Don Manuel thoughtfully, " there are good 
schools in France, I have heard. There is at Les Cabanes 
a convent of sisters to which she might go as a day- 
boarder. What sort of girl is this Marinessia Alva ? " 

After I had told him what I knew, he continued deep 
in meditation. " Concerning this I will 
°^ speak with my brother," he said at length, 
™. " he is a poor man. I also am nowise rich 

and have many to provide for. But, though 
it would not be well to bring Zaida up with great expec- 
tations, she shall not lack teaching, nor yet a dowry when 
her time comes. Only I would rather for all our sakes 
she would marry on the other side of the mountains. If, 
therefore, we find this to be hopeful, I count on you to 
persuade Zaida. Let us follow them in." 

As to the persuading of Zaida, there was indeed very 
little question of that. So long as she got away from 


Miranda-Aran and the companionship of Andres and his 

wife, the little girl cared not where she went. Even 

school, being an unknown quantity, held no terrors for 

her. The French blood in her raced at the thought of 

gaiety and change. All novelty appealed to her, and 

after she had been assured that I would often see her in 

the Ariege, she was prepared to set out instantly — nay, 

she pressed for an immediate departure that very night. 

The next day, early in the morning, I went down 

to talk the matter over with Rodil. Long ere the sun 

showed over the edge of the tableland of Aragon I was 

making my way through the palm-grove to the camp in 

the little plot behind the bridge. The caravan was at rest 

in a corner, but a pew of white reek curling lazily upward 

showed that some one was awake. Babieca limped slowly 

round, his legs tied fore and aft with a rope. 

Evidently it was Rodil who was on foot, for ^^°^ .^ 

I could hear Penique snoring within, I ^ j, 

, , . , , 1 I , Ground 

had, indeed, good reason to know that 

snore. It had kept me awake several nights when he 

slept under the waggon in the berth which belonged of 

right to Halte La, the great Danois, to whom I had given 

the name of " The Flea Pasture." 

As I turned the corner of the caravan, I found Rodil 
sitting on the step, engaged in making the most intimate 
repairs upon his wardrobe. He merely glanced up and 
nodded. He was in no way surprised to see me in the 
middle of the night, dropping upon him over the wall of 
the Count's palm-grove. Out-of-door-folk take small 
account of each other's capacity for doing without sleep. 

" So," he said, plying his needle, " the Count did not 
haft his Albacete knife in you when you took him back 
his daughter, without even giving you a chance to 
explain ! " 


I looked at Rodil with a certain suspicion in my eye. 

" You know who the Count is, then," I said, "why did 
you not tell me ? " 

" In my time," he said, " I have repeated so many tales 
that lied, so many true tales that wounded — that now 
(when there is a chance) I have learned how much better 
it is to be silent." 

Whereupon I told him as much as I judged necessary 
of the Count's story, and asked him if he thought that 
Marinessia would undertake the care of the girl after she 
was married. But, as was his way, Rodil disclaimed any 
responsibility for his offspring. 

" She has been well educated," said Marinessia's father, 
** but as to this I know nothing of what Marinessia will 
say or do. She thinks and acts for herself. I had resolved 
that she should have no taint of this wandering life, if 
I could help it. Besides, there is her uncle to consider ! " 

" And Bino ? " I added, smiling. 

Rodil shook his head. 

" No," he said gently, as if throwing the words up into 
the vague to take root where they would, " I judge there 
will not be Bino to consider. There will be a shackle on 
good Master Bino's foot when he marries my Marinessia, 
or I am much mistaken." 

By this time I had become accustomed to trust much to 
Rodil's judgment upon such things as came within his 
province. I therefore put the whole matter before him and 
waited while he filled, lighted, and smoked out two pipes 
of strong tobacco. 

Well, yes, on the whole, taking things, as it were, by 
and large, he was inclined to think that it 

/:? ^ might do. Marinessia was very good with 

horses. She had " the way." And even 

^ Penique was no trouble when his sister 

took him in hand. But what of the Count ? Would 


he permit . . . one connected with his family to asso- 
ciate with a travelHng merchant's daughter, even when she 
came of as ancient a family as his own ? 

For my part I was inclined to think that Don Manuel 
would not stand upon trifles. 

" So be it, then," said Rodil, " I myself will speak with 
Marinessia on my return." 

It was pleasant to abide with Rodil down in the river- 
bottom, as the day began to grow and the long slants of 
sunshine struck down the side gulleys, drinking up the 
dew and causing the turquoise valley-haze to ascend and 
vanish. There were real gipsies in the shelter of the 
bridge-arches. I could see them lighting their fires and 
beginning to prepare their morning meal. But, as usual, 
the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. 

"Accursed horse-coping demons," quoth Rodil suddenly, 
making free of an expletive which I never heard him use 
before, " 'tis a pity the Holy Inquisition had not made 
cleaner work of such when it was about it — instead of 
troubling the Moriscos, who, from all I can hear, were a 
very honourable people and liberal with their money." 

I asked Rodil if he could speak the crabbed Gitano, and 
at the word he spat orientally on the ground. 

" Can I howl like a dog ? " he demanded almost fiercely. 
He turned about and observed half-a-dozen little gipsy 
children, sloe-eyed and tatterdemalion, hanging round the 
waggon, probably on the chance of something to eat. 

" Begone, spawn of the devil ! " he cried, with quite un- 
usual vehemence. 

Then, taking up his task again he was silent awhile. 
His brow cleared gradually. The humorous twinkle crept 
back into his eyes, and finally he laughed outright. 

"I have to ask your pardon," he said, "but I can no 
more help abusing a gipsy than you a mosquito ! Each to 
his own hatreds, as his blood drives him. But I did 


wrong to curse. For all curses come home to roost. 
Yet, alas ! I would not be a true Spaniard if I were not 
sometimes suddenly angry ! " 

Which also is a true word. The Spaniard is ever liable 
to quick anger over trifles. Then he is most dangerous. 
For he will strike with a knife, or a stone, or a log of wood 
as may come handy. I have seen a muleteer almost 
kill his best beast merely for scraping a valuable load 
against a rock. Yet an hour afterwards he would 
share bite and sup with that same animal, all being 
forgotten, and go to sleep with his arm about the 
culprit's neck ! 

But, on the other hand, the Spaniard is generally free of 
the accursed Italian vendettas which slumber on like half- 
dormant volcanoes from generation to generation, breaking 
out at intervals into some amazing explosion of blood and 

At about eight o'clock I heard a voice from the palm- 
grove which I knew. It was Zaida calling me. 

I left Rodil still busy among his umbrellas, and stepped 
up the bank. Zaida was running to and fro like a questing 
dog on a mixed trail. 

"Ah, there you are ! " she cried ; "you have been once 
more with these merchant-folk — the umbrella-menders. 
You love them more than you love Zaida ! Do you ? I 
bid you tell me at once." 

"Certainly," I said, " when Zaida is such a very foolish 
and wicked little girl as she was yesternight." 

"But Zaida is no longer naughty," she said demurely, 

" there is no need. The Count has promised to take me 

„ , away — and " (her expression became irre- 

. , , sistibly witchinsr) " the Bishop has been 

IS changed ^ , / , °: ,, , ^. , , 

teaching me religion. My heart is changed. 

I feel it here ! " 


She laid her hand on her left side, a little above her 

"You mean," said I gravely, "that you have got your 
own way ! " 

She dimpled and waved to and fro an imaginary fan, 


making (as it were) coquettish play over the top of it with 
her eyes. 

" Perhaps," she said, " at any rate, there is a change. 
I will not now drown myself in the Frenchwoman's pool. 
I am to go to the Feast of the Children at El Seo. I am 
to be prepared for my first communion. The Bishop will 
teach me himself. He began last night and I lay awake — 
ah, so long ! " 

"Thinking over and repeating the holy words he 
taught you, doubtless ? " I demanded, for the persistent 


dimple showed that there was something lurking behind. 
Zaida continued to smile, more with her eyes than her 

" Partly — yes," she said, demurely, " but — most of the 
time I thought about the dress I am to wear in the 
cathedral. All by myself I have decided upon it. It is 
to be of silk and baptiste — yes, and with much old lace — 
yellow (but not too yellow) because of my complexion, 
you understand. And also, because I read well, I am to 
read the lesson in church, and have an older girl to pull 
off my glove — such gloves, white and of many buttons. 
Ah, it is good to go where one can have beautiful things 
to wear — and be taught religion. Long might I have 
stayed here without having such given to me. I thank 
you a thousand times for speaking to the Count, as I bade 
you. Yes, I will be good and learn my catechism so 
quickly ! Oh, you shall not be ashamed of Zaida ! " 

She was silent a while after this outburst of religious 
enthusiasm. Then she came softly up to me and began to 
pat the sleeve of my coat gently, and with the prettiest 
assumption of embarrassment. 

" Do you think you could " she palpitated, then she 

broke off sighing, "Oh, I shall never dare to ask you — 
bittf if you could?" 

She looked up in this pause. 

"If I could . . . what?" I demanded, as grimly as 

She clapped her hands together with a little cry. 

"Oh, I never can ask you if you speak like. that — so 
grave and stern." 

Spite of this direct attack, I remained silent and 

Full well I knew that I should not have long to wait. 
Zaida glanced up again to see in what frame of mind I 



might be, discerned inevitably the twinkle in my eye, and 

instantly set up a triumphant cry. 

" Ah, you will — I see you will," she cried with renewed 

confidence. " It is this that I ask. Not much — so little 

it is. Will you speak to the Count (he will 
" BaDtiste j f \ 

^ do anything for you — as I would also) to 

get me the white dress of silk and haptiste 

at once ? For, if it were really made, I could learn my 

religion so much more quickly. I do not want it to put 

on, you know, for that would be unlucky, but just to lie 

in a drawer where I could look at it. Oh, I could" learn 

everything so much better, and never be a bad girl again — 

oh, never and never and never ! " 

Whereupon, eager to purchase so much goodness at so 
cheap a rate, I actually did ask, and, what is more, had 
the dress made immediately upon our arrival at El Seo, 
and laid in the drawer, duly to be looked at upon occasion, 
as a reward of merit or an encouragement to virtue. 

There was really no reason why we should stay longer 
at Miranda-Aran, had not the weakness of the Bishop 
prevented his setting out that day. Zaida could hardly 
restrain her impatience, and set about hastening the 
departure by every means in her power. If she had been 
allowed, she would have gone in to inquire as to the 
Bishop's health every quarter of an hour. And in the 
meantime she set about collecting all her property of 
every kind, for distribution among her friends at the 
washing-bank, or getting it packed ready for Andres to 
bring to El Seo upon his first visit there. 

I do not think that either the overseer or his wife 
Cristina was very sorry to lose their mercurial charge, 
for though Cristina actually wept, I judged that her 
emotion was chiefly pro formd. 

Zaida herself made no pretensions to grief of any sort, 


but danced here and there like a wild thing. I saw her 
in the washing-grove promising Amparo and Carmelita any 
number of presents to be sent from El Seo. 

" I will get the money to buy them from the Count — or 
from him ! " she said importantly, indicating my own 
figure as it stood above on the bank relieved against the 
sky. " I have only to ask. Besides, there are shops 
there where one can buy anything, and my first communion 
gloves are to have twenty buttons on each, all of the real 
clouded pearl ! " 

For Mistress Zaidadidnot in the least believe in hiding 
her light under a bushel. 

It was the third day when we left behind us the waving 
kerchiefs of Andres and Cristina. I watched Zaida till 
she was well over the bridge, and I was interested to 
observe that she never so much as cast a look in the 
direction of the Frenchwoman's Pool. It was as much as 
she could do to wave a hasty adieu to Amparo and 
Carmelita, who stood at the bridge-corner all beblubbered 
with crying — the coral necklace and the broad silver 
buckle she had bestowed upon them severally, displayed 
to the best advantage. 

All life for Zaida lay before her, and so soon as she 
had passed these two, I question if she looked back even 
once at the only home she had ever known. 

For, contrary to the dictum of the poet, the thoughts of 
youth are sometimes short, short thoughts. Yet, though 
now she was so eager to escape, I doubted not that the 
garden, with its perpetual hush of blown leaves, the 
murmur of the Ebro girding it, the wide green spaces, 
the ruined house, even silent Andres and Cristina his wife, 
would return to Zaida, now and then all through her life. 
And when her heart was sick of much greater things, she 
would hear Amparo sobbing in the quiet and the chorus 


of the washing-women as they greeted her about their . 

But for the moment there was nothing at all of this 
in her heart. At the end of a long vista she saw only the 
streets of El Seo crowded with little children, all dressed 
in white, and among them — a certain Zaida, in white also, 
and most exceedingly conscious of the famous gloves 
of many buttons. She had never played with children 
in all her life, and the only church she had seen was the 
ruined chapel where every two months snuffy Father 
Laurence droned a mass under the booth of leaves and 
tinsel which Andres put up, and for which Cristina pre- 
pared an altar. 

I did not travel with the Count and his party, for I was 
trysted to Rodil. I was his guest, and Don Manuel and 
his brother had so much of true courtesy in their hearts 
that they never expected me to forego my companionship 
with the umbrella-mender because I had met in with 
them. Don Manuel even offered me a mule to ride on. 

"You can make your travel with Rodil just the same," 
he said, " but you will get over the ground easier." 

It seemed better, however, to make no change. So I 
explained that I would follow in their train, and, if we 
met with no accidents, be at El Seo well-nigh as soon as 

To this Zaida offered no serious objection. Her future 

was passing before her — golden, vague, far-reaching — and 

her burst of aflfection for me, though it had 

^ v^^^^^ "°' passed away, was already overlaid with 

the keen enjoyments of the hour and the 

still stronger expectations of adventurous youth. I was 

still, perhaps, " a little better than her dog, a Httle dearer 

than her horse," but (privately) I think that I had become 


a bad second to 
the white bap- 
tiste and the 
many - buttoned 

And, indeed, 
I counted it well 
that it should be 
so, for Zaida's 
preference, had 
it remained of 
its first strength, 
might, however 
flattering, have 
in time proved 
also somewhat 

So that, on 
the whole, I took 
Mistress Zaida's 
with considera- 
ble philosophy- 
Still, as I was 
really anxious 
that Marinessia and Bino should have the care of the 
little girl, I did what I could to prompt Rodil to lose 
no time. Whereupon, urged by his father, Penique 
made Babieca show his paces, and Rodil guided us 
through an intricate maze of paths and pavemented 
roads, on the average about as fit for traffic as a home 
street that is up for repair. For whereas in France you 
can take your dinner without platter off the average high* 
way, in Spain there is no real difference between a country 





road and the hillside — except that the road has more 

stones upon it. 

And if you ask a philosopher like Rodil why this is so, 

he will answer that it is to teach people to stay at home 

and be content. Travellers must expect inconveniences 

wherever they go, the world not being organised for them, 

but for the folk who live on the spot^and attend to their 

honest businesses. 

At this point I had a further taste of my host's quality 

in a confession which he made with the greatest frankness 

in the world, I had asked him how he could go and 

leave his business in El Seo so long, for I knew that he 

had rented a couple of rooms there, and possessed a large 

stock of cloth and ribbons, which he had rooted out of 

the caravan in order to make room for me and my 


" Ah," he said, " my wife Concepcion is three times as 

good a man of affairs as I. It would nowise surprise me 

if she had disposed of the whole roomful with which I 

left her. Who but Concepcion could go the round of the 

merchants ? — you see, in the town men would not dare to 

deal directly with your friends the Sebastians. Then, 

whatever remained, she would carry round the villages 

and farms in the vicinity, hiring a donkey if need were, 

and no man would molest her, knowing that she was the 

wife of Rodil y Alva ! " 

" Ah, such a wife as I have," he continued, "a wife 

worth having, indeed! She is not beautiful — no in that also 

Marinessia is her true daughter. But, then, 

° !^ ^ , ^^ no wise man chooses a wife for her looks. 

,^^./ ^ With a sweetheart it is different. When I 
a wife . , ,. , . , ,T. . 

was in the police and stationed at Vittona 

(which is a great place for fair women, and a town also 

where a uniform on a well-looking man is appreciated), it 


chanced that I had three aiingas — that is, sweethearts, who 
thought somewhat better than well of me. At the time 
I was used to that — being a young man and filled to 
the throat with folly and the hot blood of youth. So I 
must perforce take them out one at a time, each in her 
turn, on Sundays and feasts of the Church, to dances and 
merrymakings — in all innocence, of course ! " 

" Of course," said I. 

Rodil laughed the little chuckling laugh which goes with 
old memories, and sucked upon his pipe. 

" Ah," he went on, "also I did more church-going then 
and heard more masses than I have ever done before or 
since. Most women are unhaltered colts when it comes to 
church-going. They can never have enough of it." 

"And did none of the three find out about the others?" 
I demanded in the interests of science. 

*' They might hear," said Rodil grimly, " but they did 
not trouble me about it. I was a well-enough -looking 
young fellow in those days. So none of the three wished 
to quarrel with me. For when they went with me in their 
turn to the booths and fairs, I had the habit of the open 
hand in the matter of ribbons and sweetmeats." 

"And one of those sweethearts — was Concepcion ? " 
I asked him, willing to shorten the digression. Rodil 

"Truly, yes," he said, "the other two were pretty, 
indeed, one was a beautiful girl. But then, being both 
young, I had the devil's own trouble to keep them 
in good humour with presents and soft speeches — not 
once or twice, but all the time. And you know with what 
difficulty sweet talk comes to me — about as easily as 
knitting hose to an ox of the team. So I said to myself 
when the day came for me to leave the Carabineros — 
' Rodil,' I said, 'it is time for you to marry. Whom will 


you choose ? Each of these three in Vittoria will wed 
you for the asking. Be cautious, therefore, my Rodil ! 
But Maria, the daughter of Martin, has been accustomed 
to be waited on hand and foot, while little Concha cannot 
help for her life making eyes at the officers as they pass. 
Both must be tended and guarded, made much of and 
babyfied, else they will sulk for days together. Now, in 
addition, consider, Rodil, that ten years hence their beauty 
will be past. It is true that Concepcion is older and of a 
plainer countenance. But then she will tend you, work 
for you, help you in your business, and when you are an 
old man — behold, you shall sit and warm your hands on 
the lee side of life, listening the while to the olla bubbling 
in the pot. Marry Concepcion, my Rodil ! ' said I. And 
so I did, and unto this present, ivithout regret ! " 

Rodil looked at me a little triumphantly. 

" Such, in brief, is my philosophy of marriage — that of 
love bejng somewhat different." 

But Rodil y Alva had no time to develop the second 
thesis. For even as he spoke we topped the rise and saw 
before us, beneath the towers of the cathedral of El Seo, 
the scattered white roofs of the city. And lo ! there was 
Marinessia herself coming up towards us, a letter for me 
in her hand. 

She kissed her father on both cheeks with her usual 
calm gravity, and as they walked apart to talk I tore the 
letter open. It was from my friend Don Mark, and he 
wrote briefly and to the point. 

" Would yon like to visit a Carhst partida among the 
mountains? If so, meet tne oti Monday outside the citadel 
gate oj El Seo. Greetings and salutation. ^^ 

When I came to where Marinessia and her father were 


talking together I heard the girl say, " Let her be brought 
to my uncle's farm and left awhile with me. In a week 
we shall see whether the little maid will be happy. No, 
you need not consult with Bino ! " 

Whereat Rodil turned upon me an eye which said 
unmistakably : 

" Did not I tell you so ? The day of Monsieur Bino 
is over ! " 


Much and sore did I desire to see a Carlist camp. I had 

heard that such things existed. The Imparcial and the 

Liberal and the Diario had informed me, in 

badly-leaded and worse-printed columns, l^jf 

that there were these rebel encampments. , , , 

. [. r , . . . not what 

A state ot war, so 1 was assured, existed in ,, ^ ^„„^ 

' ' they seem 

all the northern provinces. The govern- 
ment of Madrid were "taking steps"! Troops were 
under order to proceed to all the disaffected territories. 

In England, on the strength of telegrams, alarmist in 
their nature (and with all the proper names misspelt), that 
small part of the world which takes heed of such thing?, 
believed that Spain, the most distressful country of the 
continent, was once more on the verge of civil war. 

But I, on the spot, had my doubts, and — my reasons for 
doubting. First of all, I knew that all, or practically all, 
Spanish news comes to England from Paris. Much of it, 
being retranslated, is fitted to astonish the intelligent 
Spaniard. It is a product of the Stock Exchange, and 
represents in the chill of type only the roaring of the bulls 
and the growling of the bears upon the Paris Bourse. 

But for once there was something more in this report. 


Spaniards in Barcelona and Madrid believed. The Prime 
Minister proclaimed martial law in province after province. 
Groups beneath the Hotel de Inglaterra in Bilbao scuffled 
for late editions of the daily paper, and the voice of the , 
news-boy hoarsely proclaimed terror and slaughters down 
the whole length of the Rambla of Barcelona. 

True, in Madrid things were quieter. For, sole of all 
the cities of Spain, Madrid has cosmopolitan claims. The 
days are gone by when a thousand pesetas^ adroitly mani- 
pulated, would engineer a revolution in the capital, when 
even the judicious expenditure of a paltry hundred might 
be counted on to produce a quite respectable riot in the 
Puerta del Sol. 

But in El Seo nothing whatever had been heard of all 
this. Don Manuel Sebastian had been silent. Quietly as 
ever the Bishop read his Breviary and walked in his garden 
of the Delight. Even such specialists in Carlism (or in 
any other plot which promised excitement and a free fight) 
as Don Mark and Don John had said no word — that is, not 
till now. Then suddenly there came to me this message. 
Well, of course I would go and gladly — in a day or two, 
that is — if the adherents of the Absolute King would wait 
so long. But for the moment I was pledged up to the eyes 
to see the little Zaida into her new life. That done, I was 
heartily at Don Mark's disposal. 

It was strange to find oneself again in the City of Dream 
after so long a wandering. Then once more there came to 
me the curious rediscovery which one makes, that cities 
have streets, pavements, and cobble-stones which hurt the 
foot by their uniformity and absolute lack of sympathy ! 
The world also seems to contain a great superfluity of 
boys and girls — particularly boys. There are also 
(wonder to tell) shops where things are sold. And in- 
stantly, one becomes conscious of an infinite number of 


wants — not one of which had presented itself out on the 
open campo ! 

The affair Marinessia-Bino had certainly made progress. 
Bino was seated in the little custom-house outside the 
city, as it were, somewhat ostentatiously passing the time 
of day with the officers. As soon as he saw us he rushed 
impetuously out and embraced me. But while he did it 
he looked over my shoulder at Marinessia. Rodil only 
smiled quietly, and having sent on Penique with the 
caravan, the four of us, Rodil, Marinessia, Bino, and 
myself, walked towards the town-house of Marinessia's 
uncle. Rodil continued to smile quietly, while (perhaps 
to divert attention) Bino talked in one continuous stream. 
He had been very busy, it appeared, ever since we had left 
El Seo. But when asked for particulars,- it came out that 
he had been helping Marinessia's uncle with his commerce 
in the town and his agriculture outside it. 

" He has been paying you a wage ? " inquired Rodil, 
innocently. Bifio glanced at his father-in-law in prospect, 
took the twinkle, and answered with a face like a wall, 
" Yes, a large wage ! " 

Whereupon Marinessia looked a little reproachfully at 
her lover. 

" My uncle," she began to explain, " has been a good 
deal away, and, as there is much to be done at this season, 
Bino has been kind enough to assist me ! He understands 
such things ! " 

"Ah?" said Rodil, quietly, "yes, when I was in the 

police, before I was married, I also had time 

to be of a good deal of assistance to various eu i. 

o . • , , T • 1 1 1 Sharp-set on 

uncles. Sometimes, indeed, I included jviarria^e 

fathers — though that, I understand, has now 

gone out of fashion ! " 

To this Marinessia said nothing, but Bifio, passing 


between Rodil and his daughter, shamelessly took the girl's 
hand before us all. 

" You are still, both of you, sharp-set on marriage ? " 
inquired Rodil, bending his eyes on the pair. 

" Aye, certes, I believe you ! " said Bino, " and as soon 
as may be." 

" Oho ! " said Rodil, " things have progressed indeed ! 
I thought it v^ras agreed that you were only to company 
with us a little, in order to see if my girl were sage." 

Bino darted a quick look of suspicion at me. Had I 
given him away ? In his reply he was not quite so fluent 
as usual. 

" Marinessia thinks " he began, stammeringly, 

" that — 'ah — that we might be married almost at once ! " 

" Ah," said Rodil with philosophy, filling his pipe, 
" Marinessia thinks — does she ? And so this is your 
method of consulting her father ? I congratulate you 

"Her uncle is satisfied," said Bino, calmly, "he is to 
give Marinessia a dowry. And — we are to be married by 
the end of the week — that is, if we are so fortunate as to 
obtain your consent ! " 

" Ah," said Rodil, ironically, " that is indeed well 
thought on. Better late than never ! " 

" You see," said Bino meekly, " Marinessa said that you 
would do just what she wished ! And she wishes this ! " 

" Oh, most certainly ! " retorted Rodil, " did ever any 
one do aught else than what Marinessia wished ? And in 
a month or two you also will find yourself falling into 
step, my gay Frenchman ! Marinessia has not a mouth 
like that for nothing ! " 

" It is a lovely- — a charming mouth," murmured Bino, 
with evident reminiscence, as well as with some indig- 


" Ah," said Rodil, irrelevantly, " I have no doubt what- 
ever, that you have been helping her to some purpose ! " 

" So I was ! It is indeed true ! " said Bino, suddenly 
and unaccountably red to the gills. "Ask her uncle if it 
is not ! " 

Whereat Rodil chuckled. 

Then it was that Marinessia came forward and informed 
hox fiance that she had undertaken the care of little Zaida. 
It would be a great help to the menage in its early stages. 
But I think the young man sighed. He had foreseen a 
monopoly of his sweetheart. The duet had suddenly 
become a trio. But the magic was working and very 
obediently he replied that all should be as Mariuessia 
wished. Her father nudged me as much as to say, " What 
did I tell you ? " 

I had of course supposed that there would be no chance 
of carrying a bridegroom with me to a Carlist camp in the 
very first week of his nuptials. But as soon as the thing 
was mooted, Marinessia declared her will. 

** Certainly, he shall go. It is a very excellent arrange- 
ment," she said, " for me. I shall be glad of the time to 
set our house in order, near to Cabanes in the Ariege — 
Bino's place, which the Senor knows. Men are in the way 
at such times. Bifio shall go with you, and welcome. He 
will also conduct and protect you. You shall see all that 
is to be seen, and then descend at your leisure into the 
kindly valleys, which I love. By which time you will find 
our house very much otherwise than you left it ! I know 
a man's way of leaving things — as if he had been shot ! " 

And as she spoke La Domptense looked very strong and 
indomitable and determined — handsome too, and a little 
contemptuous, so that I could see there was no real chance 
for Bino. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity were no more 


to him now than words printed over his town-hall doors. 
However, I did not pity him. Spiritless fellow ! He was 
of those who are well content to hug their chains. 

So Bifio, the stout, and Marinessia Alva, the strong of 
face and brave of heart, were wed. Long had the cere- 
monial been spun out, even for Spain. But it was 
over now. Bifio had chosen well. Every one said so. 
Marinessia was by no means of the " cow " type of 
womanhood common in Spain. She had all a French- 
woman's practicality, together with the active benevolence 
and goodness which looks out from beneath many a Scots 
" mutch," and takes in the cash behind many a Parisian 
comptoir. There is still a lack of this particular quality 
in the peninsula, where the husband often treats his 
womenkind almost as if he still wore a turban. 

Now since the days of Ford and Don Jorge only two 
great unknown names have contributed to our knowledge 
, of the heart of Spain — Luffman, my brother 
P vagabond, and Hugh James Rose. Only 

these, that I am aware of, have studied 
the Spaniards in poverty (and every true Spaniard is 
poor — comparatively, that is). But these two speak 
truth, straight from the seeing eye and the under- 
standing heart. Also they found out the great secret, 
that to know Spain you must take it " across country," 
and live as the Spaniard lives. The several hundred other 
books on the peninsula which I have laboriously collected, 
afford the reader an astonishing impression of the dulness 
of the race. One comes, of course, upon one or two 
delightful books on sport — above all, that of Mr. Abel 
Chapman. Also there are entertaining and delightful (but 
often superficial) chronicles of travel, like those of Gautier, 
Jaccaci, De Amicis, and Hans Christian Andersen. But, 


except Rose and Luffman, as aforesaid, no English author 
has got beneath the armour-plate of the Iberian. And 
of these two, Rose is perhaps more of a cataloguer than a 
writer, while Luffman is ofttimes tantalisingly bald. 

For the rest, the dull tourist round is chiefly composed 
of bull-fights and disembowelled steeds, hired Grenadan 
gipsies, the Alhambra and the Alcazar — together with 
accounts of innumerable cathedrals, of which you can 
study the architecture far more at your ease in Street and 
Lomas. Who would imagine from the average Iberian 
traveller that Madrid is not a Spanish town at all, Bar- 
celona hardly more so (and daily becoming more and 
more drowned in cosmopolitan money-getting), or that 
real bull-fighting is confined to half-a-dozen of the greater 
cities ? Or who would not be surprised to learn from a 
practical obseiverlike Mr. Chapman that wild camels are 
to be found on the marismas of the Guadalquiver, or that 
there are salt-workers scaled like fishes in the Mediterranean 
marshes, or that there is a great aristocratic under-world 
in Spain consisting of sheep-masters and their servants, of 
tunny-fishers, of brown-burnt vintagers, of soaked malaria- 
filled rice-growers, of stalwart Castilian harvesters, of 
rook-scarers black as the crows at which they sling the 
Scriptural " smooth stone of the brook," smooth and naked 
too themselves and slim as a black lead pencil ? 

But all this by the way ! The story waits. 

Don John and Don Mark were to take me to a genuine 
camp of the Carlists. And in doing so, we were to 
venture our lives among the rifles of the soldiers of the 
Queen Regent. Thus, at least, the affair was represented 
to me. But those who might be supposed to be " in the 
know " remained strangely calm. Rodil was coming if he 
could satisfactorily dispose of his mule, Babieca, in such 
a manner that that noble animal would not eat its head 



off. Marinessia was willing, even eager, for her newly 
married and still unhoneymooned husband to accompany 
us. The Guardias Civiles, who in Spain really are civil, 
smiled upon us good-humouredly. There seemed to be a 
secret somewhere about. But as yet I was 
. kept in the dark ! The five of us met on 

the outskirts of the City of Dream. Rodil, 
at the last moment, managed to rid himself of Babieca, of 
Penique, and even of his wife. I had never before seen 
that grave man in such excellent spirits. Though no great 
church-lover he doffed his cap to a very commercial- 
looiiing Monk of the Brown, who was carrying under his 
arm a framed advertisement of American vines — with 
which, it appears, the wine-growers are replanting the 
district, in a very natural fear of the dread phylloxera 
from across the mountains. I think the convent must 
have been making a speciality of the agency. For in pro- 
portion as he is being made uncomfortable in France, the 
commercial monk is appearing in gross and detail to the 
south of the Pyrenees. 

" Hrrrumph r^ snorted Rodil, like a rogue elephant, 
as soon as he was out of sight. I think he felt that the 
next thing might be an ecclesiastical inroad upon his own 
wandering trade. 

Down in the river-bottoms men were working at the 
coarse hay. There was a pleasant dreamy haze lying 
close along the water. Beside the branch of a fine canal, 
disused like most useful things in Spain, and along all 
the meadow-flats and on the outskirts of the little steepled 
villages, men were tossing the hay from fore-and-aft 
carts up to the summits of shapeless haystacks, such as 
any Galloway farm-lass would turn up her nose at. They 
did it lazily, as if all time were before them. The 
horses munched whenever they could pick up a lazy 



mouthful. Thus the world wagged on the levels of the 
river where the air was heavy. 

But it is impossible at any time to remain long in a 
valley in Spain — that is, and keep moving. Up the hill 
you must go — or, on the contrary — down, down, down ! 
We, of course, went up. And, lo ! on the slopes above 
us, picturesque in the sweet southern light of afternoon, 
we saw the silhouettes of men and women raking the 
swathed hay which, a little later, the men would be tossing 
into fragrant heaps. 

Up and up — by roads easy and paths perilous ! We 
passed along the verges of kindly brooks, which, being 
full, suggested Devonshire — except, that is, for their 
selvages of white poplars and the olives grey on the slopes 
above. The waters dimpled and the leaves tossed in 
the sough of the wind. Save for the dry heat in the air, 
this part of the experience might have been England, 

Many bridges, too, there were — wonderful in a country 
where, as in Spain, there are neither roads to travel upon 
nor waters to cross — nor even, it may be added, travellers 
to cross them. Yet in our first hour we had passed, we 
five apprentice Carlists, at least as many admirable 



bridges — clean-shaped, practical, suited to the place and 
to the landscape as a becoming dress fits a pretty woman. 


This is a rare thing in bridges, and one which is almost 
never to be found in new countries, where a bridge is 
invariably an outrage upon the surrounding scenery. 

Queer bridges we found — triangular bridges, unne- 
cessary bridges, of wood and stone and straw and stubble 
— but never ugly bridges. I would like to 
^ " write a book — copiously illustrated- 



.^ , , Spanish bridges alone. That is, if I thought 
. o ■ anybody could be found to buy it. But 
instead, being paid to write adventures, I 
must endeavour to earn my money. 



Dogs barked at us from out of dusky archways as we 
passed through tumble-down villages. Don John, who 
was the chief /arceur of our little company, put these igno- 
miniously to flight by bending down his head and baying 
at them in most uncanny fashion, his face reversed between 
his legs — a thing which no dog can stand, at least in the 
south. I suspect that Spanish dogs must have preserved 
some kind of folk-lore (or dog-lore) about monsters with 
heads which grow upside down between their legs — for, 
one and all, they beat an ignominious retreat at the sight 
of Don John. 

And then, the vil- 
lages on that moun- 
tain route ! If El 
Seo be the City of 
Dream, of a verity 
these are the Villages 
of Dream. Their 
wooden balconies 
are timber-strutted 
and overhang the 
rush of the water. 
For up there the 
water actually does 
rush. It is as much 
as your life is worth 
(if you turn the scale 
at anything over 
thirteen stone) to 
venture out upon 
one of them. The 
very family washing 
seems to endanger 

thpJr frail nirtiirp- ^^^^^^ bridges we found-triangulak 




squeness as it flaps in the wind. The swallow's nest 
is the popular style of architecture in this part of the 

country — or rather 
was two or three 
hundred years ago. 
For such gables, 
such semi - round 
beetle - browed 
housesand built-out 
patios, I never saw 
in any burg built 
by living man. And 
never do I expect 
to see them again, 
till I adventure forth 
from the City of El 
Seo in search of 
that elusive Carlist 

For all that, wc 
could see every- 
where that we were 
in a land in which 
religion was still 
something worth 
fighting for — or, at 
least, that the re- 
spect for it kept up a certain tradition in the hearts of the 

At the gable of every house of any pretension was a 
crucifix, or perhaps less frequently the statue of some 
saint. The crucifixes were of two kinds, old and new 
The old were gigantic and framed of wood. They were 
set up on a great basework of crossed beams, all deeply 



embrowned with age. The modern were erect on stone 
pillars, and generally of hammered iron. It rather took 
one's breath away, however, when, interwoven in the iron- 
work of one of the newest-looking of these, I found the 
date 1689 — the date of our own glorious Revolution, when 
Dutch William came from Holland to set up all that is 
most solid and stolid, most respectable and permanent, in 
the British Constitution. 

But presently we drew away, cutting across the spurs 
of the hills, till we saw again the fine free untravelled road 
beneath us, with its array of telegraph poles posting away 
northwards towards France and another world, while the 
River of Dream, become a torrent now, went thundering 
and foaming among the stunted pines at our feet ! 

I began (as I thought) to smell Carlism in the air. In 
such places lived the men who, counting not their own 
lives dear to them, had taken up arms, and in the closing 
years of the nineteenth century were fighting for an Idea. 
So at that time I believed of Carlism among the mountains. 
It is my duty to tell of Carlism as I found it. 

The brief, one-sided, Spanish-American war was just 
over. Spain was a country witliout colonies, without a 
navy, almost without an army. Moreover, Spanish pride 
was deeply hurt. The Government staggered, and well 
it might. The Spanish have all noble qualities, but in 
matters of sentiment they are not a practical people. They 
did not know that the loss of their colonies and the confin- 
ing of their energies within the rough-hewn square of the 
Peninsula, was the best thing that ever happened to their 
land — the mother-in-law of all colonies and the mother ol 
none. These were yet too early days for that idea to take 
root. The people could not understand it. All that they 
knew was that the Government had been put down, with 
hardly a struggle, by the hated " Yenkees." And so it 


seemed the duty 
of every Spani- 
ard, for the time 
being, to put 
down the Gov- 
ernment. But, 
at the head of 
a fF a i r s, it 
chanced that 
there was a very 
wise far-seeing 
man, who, above 
all things, un- 
derstood his 

Now there is 
in Spain one 
thing which 
touches to the 
quick the average man of the 
towns, the man of the larger 
villages, the householder of 
the populous pueblos of the 

centre, the great swarming masses of the south, the man 
of the north-west with his mines and 
quarries and innumerable ports, the white- 
breeched cultivator of the orange-spangled 
huertas of Valencia and the cornlands of Orihuela. That 
which they hate, with an unbounded hatred, is the spectre 
of a fourth Carlist civil war. They have had enough of 
it. Colonies lost — well, it is a pity ! Navies sunk ! 
Well, again — let us build more. Our prestige abated for 
a generation ! That to a Spaniard is hardest of all — but, 
at least, let us have no more Carlism ! At the very name 

No More 


we will levy in mass ! We should certainly like to over- 
throw this halting half-hearted Government — one which 
first deceived us and then brought such shame upon the 
nation. But if the Government is all that stands between 
us and another Carlist war — why then, Viva ! For the 
Government of Madrid, Viva! For Senor Sagasta, F/'fa/ 
For anybody and everybody who will give us peace 
foreign, and especially peace domestic, Viva ! And Viva! 
And again three times Viva ! 

"Very well then," meditated that exceedingly wise head 
at Madrid, " let the country be saved — and, incidentally, 
with it the Government ! If a Carlist rising will save us, 
by all means let a Carlist rising be provided. See ye to 
it 1" The word was flashed down by secret ways. Indeed, 
most ways are of the secretest in Spain, where no man 
speaks his thought to his dearest friend lest a bird of the 
air carry the matter. 

And now I was going to see this most opportune in- 
surrection — see it at its source. There is a new school 
of Carlists — and an old ! Don Manuel and the Bishop 
were of the old — who had fought in a score of the 
fights, and seen men standing up with their backs to 
a wall and the cigarette alight in their mouths — in the 
day when, in the war of brethren, quarter was neither 
given nor taken. 

But of the new school were most decidedly Don John 
and Don Mark. The nearer they got to the "seat of 
war " — the large word describes the large thing — the more 
riotously joyous they became. Indeed, they were like 
school bo}S on the first day of the holidays with their 
journey-money safe in their breeches' pocket. They sang, 
they shouted. They embraced each other — all, that is, 
except Rodil, who watched their ambles and gambols, all 
the while smoking his pipe with humorous gravity. 



By this time we were getting high up. The river lay 
far below — towns, sands, vineyards, desert places, to- 
gether with bridges to cross the links of the River of 
Dream at unexpected narrows. The keen air was like an 
intoxicant to Don John and Don Mark — even to Bino. I 
mentioned Don Carlos of Spain — Don Jaime of Bourbon ! 
They laughed in my face. That is not what we have 
come out to see, they said. Their fathers would not have 
spoken so, I retorted. At this they laughed still louder, 
till I thought that of a truth they must have become "fey" 
(or fated), as we say in 
Scotland, of those 
whose excessive gaiety 
seems to presage an 
impending doom. 

"Carlists — oh, of 
course, we are Car- 
lists," cried Don John, 
" but what has that to 
do with the very re- 
spectable * whiskerado ' 


New School 

of Carlists 

who abides at the big 
hotel in Lucerne — 
which is, I believe, a 
town in Switzerland ? 
Is it not so, Senor ? 
The Duke of Madrid ? 
Hum — well, let him 
take his breakfast in 


peace, good man. It upon a whitewashed wall 


is not for him or his Hke that any young Spaniard will 
fight to-day. No, I do not mean my father (he tapped 
his frontal bone) — the old are different. They have 
touched the real, of which we have scarce seen the 
shadow 1 " 

But these gay young scamps gat their lesson ere they 
slept. It is not good to laugh at that which the fathers 
reverence. For just then, at the entering in of the little 
village where we were to rest, we came upon a crucifix 
casting a vast shadow upon a whitewashed wall, intense 
in the light of the setting sun. It was exceedingly im- 

We stood gazing — all, I think, even the three merry- 
makers, not a little awed. I pointed up at it and said, 
"There! You see ! Sometimes the shadow may touch 
the heart — even more than the reality ! " 

But Don Mark, ever ready with words, had his answer 

"Ah," he said, "that may be true enough. But — He 
is the crucified. He died for others. Whereas, so far as I 
have heard, the Bourbons of Spain have always let others 
fight for them — and die for them. And then in the nick 
of time — they ran away ! " 

And that, I venture to say, is what young Spain thinks 
about Carlism and its prospects to-day. 

We stood awhile, simply looking. The great wooden 
crucifix, dominating the little square, turned in the setting 
sun to crimson before our eyes. The shadow on the wall 
grew black, and then began to dissolve, eaten up from 
below as the sun sank rapidly. The night came with a 
stride, and through the already grey and silent alleys we 
paced soberly to our inn. I cannot tell what was in the 
thoughts of the others. Mine within me were tinged with 
Eternity, yet they were not sad. I had seen the greatest 


sight left on earth — the Ideal of Man suffering for Man — 
I had seen men believing in that Ideal. Now I looked up 
where the stars were already sparkling — keen, set in regular 
perspective, blue, red, green, Sirius leading them on, like 
a chieftain among his hosts. Well, had that up thkre 
ever spoken, except by the Man who died for men ? I 
did not know. And truth to tell, I did not greatly care. 
The warm humanity of the Man of Nazareth abode. So 
much was sure. Even the shadow on the whitewashed 
wall somehow filled my heart. A carpenter had made 
that cross, and He — was a carpenter's son. 

After that, Rodil, who, as I have said, was a man of 
thought, had no difficulty in keeping the boys quiet. 
They smoked, it is true, but there was no singing, no 
tinkling guitars, no jota. And the last words of our host 
as he sent us up to bed above the stable, with a lantern 
among the four of us, sounded like a benediction, " Vaya 
listed con Dios I " — " Go ye with God ! " he said. 

Long after the rest were asleep, through the glassless 
windows of our loft I looked out, and there, erect upon 
the great cross of wood, the lonely figure cut a blank 
among the stars. Then I remembered the two lines ot 
Pippa's song, 

" God's in His Heaven. All's right with the World. ''^ 

I thought that this detour had brought me no nearer 
the long-sought camp of the Carlists, but I was wrong. 
The house in the little village where we had slept 
was garnished with an arcaded gallery giving upon the 
street, like a bridge for which at last the natives had 
found a use. Under this were doors and the entrances to 

I was told that the Carlists, when they sent down for 



provisions, stabled their horses under these very arcades ! 
This was something like. Here I was, at last, upon the 
track of rebellion. 

Our sleeping-room was a long gallery in the outer 
flange of these very archaux. In effect it felt just like 
going to bed in a flying buttress. The corridor was so 
narrow that the couches had to be placed lengthways, and 
so close together were they that in the dead time of the 
night Rodil grasped one of my ankles, which had gone 
exploring on its own account over the end of his bed. 
He was just about to stick a knife into it, taking it for a 
robber — or, at least, for something which had no right to 
come interfering with his nose. 

It was yet grey morning when we settled our modest 
bill and went. Bills are always modest in Spain — still 
more so if a Spaniard does the settling. But what we 
found was a great change from yesterday's sun-drowned 
haymakers, our long tramp by the hazy river-side, and 
the loops of hot roadway blinking in the sun. To-day 


the grey of earliest twilight had the snell grip in it which 
told of snow. There was snow in the air too. One's 
teeth chattered as we dressed — not that in going to bed 
we had removed 
so much of our 
clothing that 
they had a very 
long time in 
which to chat- 

The next mo- 
ment we were 
out on the hill- 
side with a lump 
of bread and 
some chocolate 
inside of us, and 

In Search of 

the Seat of 


a well-founded 
belief in our 
hearts that it 
would be many 
hours before we 
saw more food, 
I had my half- 
plate camera under arm. Now this camera is quite a 
trifling weight when a friend only picks it up and sets it 
down. He remarks upon its wonderful lightness. But 
after a few hours over the Sierras, changing hands every 
half-mile and looking to see if the other fellows are in- 
clined to help, it seems to be made of solid lead. Then, 



again, I could trust it with Bino, but by no means with 
farceurs like Don John and Don Mark. It was too 
precious for that. 

We cowered in a little shelter from a storm-flurry, and 
whilst it was clearing up I hurried out and took a couple 
of pictures of two lonely unnamed towers which dominated 
a quite modern-looking farm, but seemed much more in 
keeping with the grim hillside against which they were set. 
The snow began to lie thinly on all the slopes, and these 
rough towers, built of chance-found stones like a Scottish 
stone-dyke, seemed perfectly in unison with their desolate 

Up and up the road wound — rocks and wayside plants 
all thinly sprinkled with snow. The leggy, unhappy, 
spindling pines we passed were touched with it to their 
topmost twig. It mixed like salt with the dust of the 
highway. Evidently Carlism had to be sought for very 
high up. However, that was but natural. Virtue abides 
on the heights. 

A carriage was returning in our direction and Don 
Mark hailed it. The answer of the conductor was unintel- 
ligible, but plainly insulting. Then it was that the two 
Sebastian boys showed the blood that was in them. 

" He may be a governmental arriero, if he like?," they 
said, "he may be the devil himself, but, by Saint Vincent, 
he has no right to insult a Sebastian. Even now we will 
convince him of the error of his way. Pray lend us your 
revolver ! " 

But I declined to be mixed up with the coercing of a 
respectable coachman upon a turnpike road. Smuggling 
was well enough, but I had no idea of emulating the late 
Mr. Richard Turpin or Mons. Claude Duval. So the Sebas- 
tians, nothing daunted, borrowed from their countryman 
Rodil, who was either not so squeamish or better informed. 




" They will only frighten him ! " he said. " Most likely 
he is a miserable hostler of the fonda which calls itself a 
' Hotel ' down at El Seo, and in that case it will be enough 
if the Sebastians tell him their names ! " 

So with no more said, Don Mark and Don John went 
off to interview the driver of the carriage. They returned 
in a trice with the news that the owner would be charmed 
to have our company. He did come from El Seo. At 
which I blushed. For I had visited a Bishop there. But 
so, for the matter of that, had the Sebastians, with whom 
the driver seemed now to be on excellent terms. They 
had let him see their own pistols, together with Rodil's 
revolver, also a couple of knives from Albacete, each 
about as long as the owner's leg from the knee down. 
They said that they thought he might possibly feel 
interested in the names of the makers. 

He was — to the extent of being astonishingly polite to all 
of us, offering wine and black bread all round. Rodil and 
I went inside the coach but the two Sebastians sat one on 
each side of the coachman on the box and helped him to 

" Confidence ? " said Don Mark, afterwards, " oh yes, 
of course we had confidence in him ! But there is no con- 
fidence like making sure of a thing yourself l^'' 

Which dictum might be added to the Proverbs of 
Solomon, without spoiling the set, having regard to the 
amount of truth which, all simply and unobtrusively, it 

Our driver had, it appeared, just taken down an 
important governmental official from the nearest point to 
the rebel camp. This commissionaire had been empowered 
to treat with the Carlists. So at least the driver declared. 
But he could give us no exact information, because his 
fare had slept the whole time after he had picked him up 


by the roadside. Also he had complained of headache, 
both which symptoms we understood later. 

" It is at this bridge I must stop, gentlemen," he said. 
" I cannot possibly cross it, or follow the road to Elisonda 
further with my waggon — which, indeed, is just new from 
the coachbuilder's yard. I shall, therefore, be obliged to 
take reluctant leave of you here ! " 

" Well, we bet you two ditros that you won't ! " cried 
the Sebastians. " We can get you and your old equipage 
over a bridge ten times worse than that. And as for 
the road on the other side — why, it was made, laid, and 
levelled specially for Don Carlos, Duke of Madrid, whom 
God preserve ! (Here they piously lifted their caps.) 
Now we are loyal soldiers of that unfortunate monarch, 
and we will show you that what is good enough for a 
Don Carlos is good enough for a shark-souled, greedy- 
toothed cretin of a hired shilling-a-league driver, from a 
heaven-forsaken venta which has the impudence to call 
itself a ' Hotel ' ! " 

Such was the sense, if not the exact words, of the allocu- 
tion addressed by the Sebastians to the driver of the hotel 

And sure enough the conveyance went over the bridge 
careering, a man at each wheel and the owner anxiously 
moderating his steed, which, naturally enough, objected to 
the reverberation. 

" It is wonderful what can be done in this world with 
a little goodwill — properly applied ! " said Don John. 
" Now, between us, without the least trouble, we have 
frightened that fellow more than ever he will be frightened, 
till the little black imps with the tridents shake his miser- 
able carcass over the pit of Hades ! " 

Fine, decided, all-there politici?,ns were my young 
friends, the Sebastians ! No wonder they were powers 


in the land. Generally also, I am bound to add, powers 
for good. 

" He is not doing this for nothing/' explained Don Mark 
in an undertone, " the rascal owes my father money, which 
he will never pay. And if the old rattletrap does fall into 
the ravine it won't matter a dollar to anybody." 

Luckily, however, it did not. In fact the road actually 
became better on the further side of the Segre. For this 
is the rule in Spain. Where there are millions of people 
and a great traffic, the ways are those which the Moors 
left behind them, and you wade waist-deep in the ruts. 
But when there are perhaps a dozen of possible passengers 
in a year, the roads are — well, as good as those of France 
or of Utopia, which is pretty much saying the same thing. 
The road upon which we now found ourselves, a little 
boulder-strewn because of the contributions to road- 
mending brought down by the spring avalanches (which, 
of course, no one had ever thought of removing), led 
slowly upwards through the snow-dusted trees. 

" We are coming near the camp now," said Don Mark, 
and he went off into one of his boisterous laughs. 

" I cannot go there," cried the coachman in despair. 
"They will have my blood." 

'•'And small loss!" remarked Don John, unsympa- 

" Let me go ! Let me go ! " The Jehu's plaint became 
acute, and he referred more than once to a wholly ima- 
ginary wife and children. 

So, after making him sign a receipt that he had come so 
far out of his way of his own freewill, we let him go. The 
Sebastians considered all this a fine joke, and laughed 
abundantly. But, having been brought up to railway officials 
and the science of tipping, I managed to convey a piece of 
money to the unfortunate driver, without the knowledge 



of either Don John or Don Mark. I think if they had 
known they would have sent me back with him in the con- 
veyance as wholly unworthy of confidence. 

The carriage once out of sight we stood in the roadway 


Stamping our feet and getting warm as best we could. 

For the chill of the high mountains cut into our bones, 

coming as we had done directly from the steaming ditch 

of the Ebro Valley, and over the dusty plains of Aragon 

upon which the sun lies all day heavy as a load. 

Don Mark was right. We were indeed nearing our 

goal. Turning a corner there, beneath us, lay the little 

collection of houses which I shall call 

Elisonda — though, of course, according to _ , 

, . ' . ° Fortress 

agreement, that is not its name. 

To all appearance it was little more than a Scottish 


" farm - town." What 
we looked upon was 
hardly more than the 
long - roofed collection 
o f "office-houses" 
which surrounds the 
dwelling of a thrifty 
" big far- 
mer " in 
the old 
Yet this 
was the 
-r the head 

and front 

THE WHOLE Q f t h 6 



It did not look very terrible, and for a moment I was 
disappointed. What I wanted to see was a regular 
encampment out on the plain, or upon the mountain 
side ! I think a score or so of tents of black 
camel's hair, like those of Bedu, might have satisfied 
me. But this range of comfortable farm buildings — 
all eligible property ! Could that be the dreaded Elisonda 
about which the forces of the Government had been con- 
centrating for weeks ? Could this be the place whose 
name was shouted nightly along the Rambla at Barcelona, 
in the Plaza de la Independencia of Zaragoza, and down 
the Puerta del Sol at Madrid ? 

Where were the grinning black muzzles of the guns — 
" quick-firers " smuggled over the frontier from France — 


so they said in the papers — old mortars wide enough of 
mouth to fire an iron bedstead, mattress and all ? The 
Carlists, even, where were they ? 

At least I was not to be disappointed of these last. 
Here they came, a whole advance guard of them, spurring 
their best along the road, yelling and shouting, as if they 
had been forewarned of our approach. Some of them rode 
horses, but the majority mules. Shades of General 
de Lacy Evans and Cabrera, had it come to this ? Yes, 
even worse ! Far in the rear, as merry as any, rode a 
man upon a donkey ! 

These were the bloodthirsty Carlists of Elisonda. These 
were the enemies of the City Fathers. These were the 
fierce hill-fighters, who gave no quarter to man, woman, 
or child. 

And in a minute we had fraternised with this dreadful 
enemy — these 
semi -brigands 
of the Madrid 
papers, un- 
recognised by 

We frater- 
nise with the 

any Power, 
fighters each 
for his own 
hand. In ap- 
pearance they 
were exactly 
like a lot 01 
jovial farmers' 
sons out^for a "general prim" lay permanently on a wall 


merry-making. They did not slay us on the spot. 
Contrariwise they embraced us even too warmly. They 
demanded not our money or our lives — but only if we 
were thirsty. We were. We were also cold. 

We went back with them to Elisonda, and had soon 
made ourselves at home with the whole boisterous crew. 

They had a camp-fire. But I think that camp-fire must 
have been a stage property, for I never saw any one sitting 
by it. The wide kitchen or house-place and the straw- 
filled barn suited their habits better. Guards were posted, 
but they were mostly four-footed and barked. One of 
these, called " General Prim," a meek animal, lay perma- 
nently on a wall and was ready to betray his trust at any 
time for a bone. After this I used to carry one in my 
pocket for the express purpose of bribing the general. I 
wrapped it in a copy of the Correspondencia which told of the 
bloody doings of the rebels of Elisonda. General Prim did 
not mind, specially if the bone had been left, as it were, 
"in the rough." 

That night there was heard in Elisonda the sound of 
the pipe and of the tabor. Don John surpassed himself. 
Don Mark recounted (and embellished) our adventures in 
the smuggling line. All present were experts, and I 
received many compliments. Rodil listened and smoked, 
smiling quietly the while. The amount of white spirit 
which was drunk had better be referred to in round 
numbers. Its quality was not strained — its quantity quite 
unrestrained. There were headaches abroad in the morn- 
ing, but General Prim and I were early at our posts. He 
and I went the rounds of the rebel camp together " at the 
good hour." 

On the way we fell in with Don Mark, who asked me 
if I had any bicarbonate of soda about me. He said he 
wanted it for a chemical experiment. Going back I gave 



him what I possessed, and he proceeded to see what 
would be the effect of dissolving the powder in water and 
drinking it upon the spot. General Prim and I left him 
to his experiment, and set forth again on our round of 
discoveries. A meek animal was General Prim. He 
snuffed at each snoring sleeper, and when he recog- 
nised any one to whom he had been introduced, he 
very courteously acknowledged the acquaintance before 
passing on. 

Finally at the far side of Elisonda, where are certain 
steep precipices called colloquially "Too-Bad-For-a-Dog," 

^, ,, , the General and I came upon a young man 
The Moody ,., • .u u 

^^ __ ^ moodily surveying the scene. He was 

Young Man , j ivo- , ^ 

dressed difierently from the young farmers 

and countrymen who had spurred out to meet us the 
night before. He had not the dare-devil look of the 
smuggling Sebastians, nor yet was he of the city — 
a quiet, rather melancholy, dark-eyed fellow he seemed, 
with, however, unmistakable marks of breeding and edu- 
cation about him. 

I spoke to him, a mere polite inquiry as to whether we 
were doing any harm. To my astonishment he answered 
in French, readily and fluently. 

** Is there ever any real fighting at Elisonda ? " I asked 

" Oh yes," he answered, smiling, ^^ quite regularly !^' 

I noticed that he pronounced the last words with a 
certain emphasis. He also pointed with his hands to the 
loop-holed barns and cow-sheds beneath us. 

" When is the governmental attack supposed to com- 
mence ? " I asked. 

" Usually about three," he said, " that is, when it is 
warm and the snow has melted off the roof and rocks. 
Then it is more comfortable for everyone concerned. But 


if you are pressed for time I can send out word and have 
it begun earlier ! " 

I stared at the young man in astonishment, as well I 

** You — can — send — out — and — have — it ^ 

— begun — earlier?" I said, slowly. ,, v,-i 

" Certainly," he answered serenely, " that .. ,, 

is what I am here for ! " 

For a moment it occurred to me that I was in the 
presence of a spy, but a glance at the young man's face 
reassured me. Whatever he was, this youth with the 
sombre eyes was no spy. But he discerned my 

" Oh no," he said smiling quietly, " I am not betraying 
the confidence of our good friends down there, who are 
still snoring on the straw. But, all the same, I am 
here to conduct matters generally. You understand, 
the situation is this — if you will be good enough to 
listen 1 " 

Almost automatically we had walked to a little knoll 
whence we could look down upon the snow-covered roofs 
of Elisonda. Low hills were all around us in a circle 
(perhaps from a mile to a mile and a half distant). 
My friend lifted his arm and pointed with a mock theatrical 

" All these are held by the enemy — or we are the enemy 
ourselves," he said, "just as you happen to look at it ! 
At any rate, there is a fierce engagement each afternoon 
in time for the results to be telegraphed to the Madrid and 
Paris papers. Nothing like it has been seen in the Penin- 
sula since ' El Gran Lor ' (Wellington) said ^Buenas noches ' 
to his old friend Soult at Vitoria. Wait till three o'clock, 
and you shall see ! " 

While he was speaking I had been examining the 


ground and the out-buildings. Not a rut, nor a broken 
stick on a tree, nor so much as a pockmark on a wall. 

"Yes," he continued, smiling, "you have come out to 
see war and you will see it on a truly magnificent scale, 
from Mauser pistols and revolvers up to siege guns ! " 

" And this goes on every day ? " I queried, looking, 
suppose, no little incredulous. 

He nodded, his somewhat saturnine face lighting up 
with the pleasure of persiflage. 

" But," said I, marvelling, " where are the bullet-holes, 
the marks made by the explosion of the shells, the pits 
ol the round shot — all that I have read about so often in 
the papers ? " 

And I pulled out as much of the Correspondencia as my 
friend General Prim had left when I took him his last 
chop. I never saw such a dog for tearing up paper and 
chewing it. He would eat anything in which meat 
had been wrapped. But, I think, if he had a preference, 
it was for the Correspondencia. It might be called his 
favourite journal. 

I did not ask any more questions. It seemed somehow 
undignified. Instead I only looked at the young man, 
and after a little he lifted up his voice and spoke. His 
explanation was remarkably clear and precise, yet with a 
tang of bitterness in every word, strange in one so young. 

" This, mark you, is an insurrection ! " he said. " These 
people in the house-place snoring on the straw are Carlists 
— at ninepence a day and the fun ! It is a godsend to 
them in the off-season. In vintage it would cost the 
Government at least three times as much ! " 

" It would cost the Government ? " I cried in as- 
tonishment. "What has the Government to do with 

He stopped and picked up a cartridge which lay at his 


feet. Its clear, clean, white-composition metal shone like 
silver in the light of the morning sun. 

" The careless dogs I '' he said, " to take ^? 

the pay of the Government and not even to 
be at the trouble to fire off the powder. For, observe, it 
is of Government mark ! " 

I looked. So it was, and apparently unexpended. The 
little yellow cap was unindented. I searched in vain for 
the mark of the needle. 

But there was a peculiarity. The cartridge felt 
curiously light in the hand. The young man smiled and 

" It has not been fired," he said. " Now find me the 
bullet, if you please ! Explore with your knife. There 
is no danger ! " 

There was none ! The cartridge was blank as Mordred's 

The young man nodded encouragingly at me. 

" Exactly," he said, " it [is like the answer of a riddle, 
which one sees all at once and then cries out how stupid 
one has been ! Or like the donkey cut out in white in 
the wood-engraving, which you cannot help seeing — after 
once your eyes have traced it. Novi\ do you under- 
stand ? " 

It was undoubtedly stupid of me, but I did not yet 
understand — at least, not fully, though I began to have 
an inkling. 

" Well," he said, " I suppose, being a stranger, you 
must have the riddle explained. At three of the clock in 
the afternoon all these sleepers will be awake. By that 
time they will have had their breakfast of good Govern- 
ment provisions. Some of the tins have made the voyage 
to Cuba and back, but are no whit the worse for that. 
Then the brave Carlists will demand their day's pay, 


which will be given them in Government silver. I am 
not a soldier myself. I am a political in the secret 
service — only there is no particular secrecy about this. 
You can't keep a secret among three hundred men all 
picked up here, there, and everywhere — each one with a 
sweetheart at home to buy something pretty for at the 
next fair. Well, the troops and the Carlists fall on — 
horse, foot, and guns — at noon, or at three, or at six, just 
as I send them word ! And all the correspondents of the 
papers are back there among the hills, and all the writers 
— only you must not write about this till it is well over. 
But there will be a merry time and enough noise to wake 
the sainted dead ! 

" Only there won't be any dead, nor yet any wounded, 
unless a man is careless when his gun kicks. For there 
is never a bullet, nor a shell, nor a revolver pea the size 
of a sugar-coated pill out of a new-fangled pharmacy. 
All is noise, and fury, and smoke — exceedingly terrible ! 
And you will also have the privilege of beholding me 
sitting on this very knoll directing things with a stick. I 
have with me, of course, a man to work the heliograph, a 
proper soldier, not a stable-smelling Carlist. 

"And so — why, necessarily, there is plenty to write 
about, and certainly plenty to hear, and not a little to 
see ! So everybody is content ! And the people say, ' It 
is necessary to have a Government which will take strong 
measures to put down these rascally Carlists ! And what 
if the expense be great — what must be, must be ! ' (They 
are quite right there 1 The expense is great. Tinned 
meats and ninepence a day !) And all the while down in 
Madrid, in a certain bureau, a very old man with a white 
beard sits among many portfolios, while his secretaries 
come and go, and they read him the telegrams as they 
arrive from the Seat of War. And he says, ' Well 


done ! Oh, well done ! ' And one day, perhaps, he will 
take me apart and give me the Order of the Golden Fleece, 
or make me a grandee of the kingdom, or an ambassador 
or something. That is," concluded the young man, with 
a sudden drop into his habitual melancholy, " if he does 
not die or forget all about me, which is by far the most 
likely thing ! " 

Of course we stayed for the fight. It was all that the 
young man in the secret service had promised^and more. 
I wished I had found out that young man's name — not 
that I would have dared to print it. But he was of 
marked ability, and I hope that the old man of the port- 
folios, before he died (reconciled to Mother Church, and 
going to his own place to the sound of wailing chaunts) 
remembered that young man, whose name I do not know, 
and made him a grandee, or an ambassador, or whatever 
else his heart craved after. 

Crackle — crackle from the hills ! It was (do not tremble) 
the fierce onslaught of the troops of the line. How brave 
their officers were, cheering them on ! All 
colours of the rainbow were represented, _f^ ° 

specially pale blue coats and scarlet trousers, ^ 

also hard kepis with stout bobs in front. Not a man there 
would have dreamed of condescending to the degrading 
concealment of khaki. For, say what you will, it is con- 
cealment. The artillery, too, set out its guns in plain 
view on all the hills. No earthworks there ! Who's 
afraid ? Not a man of them. Rattle ! Bang ! Thunder ! 
R — r-r-r~r ! Rack — tack-tack-tack! All the sounds of 
modern warfare, as it were, in a nutshell. 

And the courage of these poor lads who had lain among 
the straw — these few hundreds of rude Carlists of the 


North, each fighting for hiri legitimate monarch ! Ought 
we not to be put to shame — aye, every man of us ? 

Which of us is there, who would think nothing of lying 
out on the plain ground — with only a sack or a bundle of 
hay beneath our persons to keep the cold from striking 
through, sheltered by a stone no bigger than a sugar-loaf, 
enfiladed from every side by modern artillery and long- 
range guns, all for an Ideal — plus ninepence a day, and as 
much tinned meat and raw white spirit as could be stowed 
away comfortably at Government charges ? 

Ah, brave fellows ! Not a man of them flinched — 
except, perhaps, to light a cigarette or to scratch. They 
had slept, you see, most of them, in the stable. So it is 
small wonder if they itched for battle. But there they 
were, the cavalry scouting valiantly after nothing at all, 
waving their swords, and charging (as often as their 
horses and mules could be brought into something like 
line) into the thickest of the fray I Never was' gallantry 
so reckless seen in this world. 

And all the time across the hills the telegraph wires 

were humming. And in Madrid, and in Barcelona, and in 

Paris the special editions were coming out, 

, -^ treading on each other's heels, reeking from 

the press. Stocks were going up and down. 
Exchange was "pumping" fike a barometer before a 
storm. Leathern-lunged louts were crying the terrible 
news along the Strand before midnight. And in the quiet 
streets about the British Museum, where the people sit up 
late, they were sending out good brown British coppers to 
pay for halfpenny papers ! The news from Elisonda was 
buzzing all over the earth. 

And on the knoll above the long roofs, from which the 
snow had either been melted or had blown away, sat the 
young man with the rueful countenance, who wanted to 


be an ambassador or a grandee. He too was smoking 
a cigarette, and when I went up to him he offered me a 
nip of cognac. 

When I declined with thanks he only said, " It is 
French, and of good mark ! See the stars ! " 

Then he yawned. 

" If you have had enough of this," he added, rising, 
" I have ! " 

Whereupon he turned to the heliograph man, who stood 
behind — grave, attentive, also a little melancholy, having 
seen the vanity of things human. 

" Tell them to stop, will you ! " said the young man, 

Then we went away. But as we were going down the 
slope, the sad-faced poHtical youth in the secret service 
turned once more to the manipulator, 

" Have you finished your message? " he demanded. 

" Yes." 

** Then add, ' the country is saved.' " 

And the Country was saved ! 



Wood is one of the precious commodities of Spain — espe- 
cially pine-wood. Generally speaking, you must go to 
the Pyrenees for it. For, though some is 
reported from Galicia, I have never seen it. 
So (thought I) now that Carlism was done "* 
with, perhaps there might be some interest in arboriculture 
as practised on the mountain slopes. At any rate, 1 would 

Besides, Don John had his young woman to visit — one 
of them, that is. And Don Mark betrayed an interest in 
the same young lady's sister. Rodil was anxious to take 
up the long-neglected business-round, in company with 
Babieca and Penique — his wife Concepcion being added 
without prejudice. She would always do what was ex- 
pected of her. No surprises were to be anticipated from 
Concepcion. Wherever Marinessia had got that firm 
mouth of hers, it was not from her mother. 

More than all, Bino had been visibly aihing for the re- 
constructed country-house on the \eiges of the Ariege. 
He must go, he now declai ed openly, to see what Marinebsia 
had been doing. 


Consequently I felt myself the idle child of the lesson- 
book. No bird or beast or industrious bee would play 
with me any more. The gay Don John, the calm Rodil— 
even Benedict Bino himself— had each his own mission in 

Very well, then — / would not play with them ! I was 


sufficient unto myself. I would go back alone, and 
perhaps might learn the more. But I promised Bino, be- 
fore I bade him good-bye — I promised Rodil, my yet better 
friend — to turn up at that white house with the grass- 
green railings and repainted shutters about which I had 
been hearing. At the latest and least, I was to be there 
on the Fourteenth of July, at Les Cabanes in the Ariege — 
the great Day of the Republic, when the bulls are driven 
through the streets, when the Sous-Prefet stands aloft on a 



high platform — a platform unscalable Jdj hoof, unpierceable 
by horn, and tells the band when to play the "Marseillaise '' 
— as it can only be played in a southern Gascon village. 

This was the promised delight. But really I chiefly 
wanted to see Zaida, and, incidentally of course, how 
Marinessia was comporting herself as a married woman. It 

would also be 
good to see my 
Bino fetching 
and carrying, 
and generally, 
as it were, toe- 
ing the con- 
,nubial line. 


So, not discontentedly, I shouldered my knapsack, con- 
taining a Jaegar sleeping-suit (insect-proof), a bit of soap, 
certain bandages, ointments, and medicines, a flask of the 
wine of my native country (for emergencies), and a few 
dozen spare films for the stout camera which I carried on 
my back. For at that time the pocketable "Nydia" only 
existed in the ingenious brain of its inventor. 



All was 
once more 
peace at Eli- 
sonda. Snow 
lay again on 
the roofs, 
and the 
Carlists were 
asleep after 
the desperate 
fight of yes- 
terday — all, 
that is, ex- 
cept a few who had gone over the 
hills and far away — " to make a 
night of it "with the enemy. But 
even they would arrive in time 
for the next deadly combat at half- 
past three precisely. My young and 
melancholy ambassador-in-the-bud 
was sleeping after his labours. Indeed, so was every one 
else. Only a faint " pew-o'-reek," as we say in Scotland, 
betrayed where Bino, the Ever-Ready, had been making 
my morning coffee. It was bitterly cold. IVhoo ! The 
wind of the gorges cut like a knife. A few hens were 
pecking at nothing out in Elisonda stableyard. What a 
vast deal of scraping they must put in for the smallest 
possible returns ! They would have made admirable 
miners. Their patience did them credit. They might 
have done well in Klondike or Chilcoot — which last 
seems a good name not thrown away, considering the 

But Elisonda back-yard, and the hens pretending to 


scrape under the gloom of an oncoming snow-flurry, were 

" Chilcoot " enough for me ! I would rather 

remain poor and warm all ray life. After- ^,. 

J T 11 X 1 u . u 1 • on Ehsonda 

wards — it all tales be true- -but there is no 

present need to go into that ! 

For the first part of the way I followed the same track 
by which we had approached the headquarters of revolt — 
at ninepence a day and a little white aguardiente. It was 
easy enough to follow. Like the streams on either hand, 
I had only to let myself go and gravitation took its course. 
If I went downhill I went right, leaving the snows — the 
snows more or less eternal — above me. But for the 
moment they were also underfoot, and my boots were 
thin. Therefore, I did not linger. It was only a 
sprinkling — what we would call the merest " scuff" of 
snow. But here, gripping where it fell and declining to 
melt, it was certainly a great nuisance at five o'clock of 
the morning. However, I could see the pine woods 
beneath me, green and fresh, and I was making for them. 

But, high above me there loomed up the wild peak 
of Penalara, dominating the valle}'^, with my two grey 
towers of yester-even, now looking quite different against 
the clean mantle of snow which covered all the upper 
country. Of course I photographed them again, standing 
with my feet wet among the damp meadow grass — hope 
in my heart, and two chlorate-of-potash lozenges in my 
mouth. My hope was that the plate would turn out well — 
not, as might have been expected, that I might be mer- 
cifully preserved from taking cold. Because I knew that 
I deserved to take cold, and would probably do so in any 
case. While, after all, the plates had done no wrong. 

As I went my way I remembered that hitherto I had 
hardly ever gone a step of these Spanish adventures 
alone — upon which, so curious an animal is man, I stepped 


out the more briskly. The very thought of solitude — 
away from the good Bino, the excellent Rodil, the 
admirable Don Manuel, the too lively Don Mark (and Don 
John, still more lively), somehow invigorated me in- 
expressibly. The weight of my camera and my increased 
pace drove the cold rapidly from my limbs, I also took a 
little something at the back of a stone dyke — medically, as 
they say on pledge-cards — and as I did so I remembered 
that a good deal of excellent unprescribed medicine is 
taken at similar dykebacks, wherever these exist all over 
the world. For there are dry-stone dykes in Huesca as 
well as in Galloway. The only difference is that in 
Huesca they are quite unable to build one — in Galloway 
they can. I have seen a Spanish dry-dyke, built of the 
usual water-worn cobbles, tumble down when a dog 

barked. I think it must have been owing to 
Some Dog ^^^ ^^j^^ g^^ j ^^ j^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ 

was a fine large dog — a wolf-hound, in fact. 
Still, whatever the explanation, the fact is beyond dispute. 
The suggestion of the reason is only thrown out for 
scientific men to worry over. They may as well quarrel 
over that as anything else. 

There is another story about these same dogs. But 
this one can be sworn to on the pyx. Here it is. Spanish 
trains move slowly. Indeed it is almost an insult to the 
word to say that they " move " at all. So does the hour- 
hand of a clock. Well, these wolf-hounds often (when 
there are no wolves about) earn their bread and put in 
their time by sitting on end and watching a flock of sheep. 
There is no special reason why they should, but time must 
be killed somehow. And, save us, how they yawn ! Like 
the Mammoth cavern — and they have teeth like stalag- 
mites, too. But all the same, they are on the look-out for 
any healthy excitement that may be coming along. 



By and by a train comes in sight. Your experienced 
wolf-hound does not rush down to the line side and yoiigh 
and bark and exhaust himself. He leaves this to puppies 
who know no better. No, he sits still and sniffs, and as 
soon as he perceives by the evidence of his highly- 
organised sense of smell, that the engine is burning the 
usual "briquettes," compounded of old dross and general 
filth, he sneers — a visible canine sneer, and waits. 

Sometimes he lets his head droop on his paws and he 
goes, ostentatiously, to sleep. Then after a while the 
train comes up, the driver with his hand proudly on the 
lever. The fireman is shovelling in " briquettes " as if 
they were real coal. The guard, smoking a cigarette, has 
his feet up on the white lace-covered cushions of the only 
first-class compartment — "Reserved for Ladies Only" — 
according to the printed notice. It is a proud train, a 


complete train, according to Spanish ideas it is a Correos, 
or express mail train. It goes, at least, on the down 
grades, as much as six, or even seven miles an hour. 
Evidence in support of this statement may be had on 
application to the publisher. 

Well, the wolf-hound wakes up. The train has passed. 
It is — no, not steaming away. " Briquettes " do not 
produce steam. They only defile the landscape with smuts 
the size of florins, and as greasy as the cookery of a venta 
which calls itself a Hotel on the strength of once having 
had two Englishmen or one American stop there. 

As has been said the wolf-hound wakes. He stretches 
himself. He rises, and leisurely pursues the train till he 
overtakes it. Then he runs along, barking in at the 
window of each several compartment, with his tongue in 
his cheek in the indescribable way Spanish dogs have 
acquiied — just as if he were cursing you ! And you know 
that he is too — not only cursing but laughing, at every- 
body in the train, from the engine-driver to the occupant 
of the compartment for "Ladies Only" who, because it 
is hot, is now arrayed with much simplicity in official 
braided trousers and an unofficial dirty shirt. Then, with 
a final volley of abuse directed at the cow-catcher on the 
engine, the faithful animal takes his way back to the flock, 
which has never for a moment missed him — feeding 
peaceably the while without a murmur on the nearest 
neighbour's young winter wheat. 

And so all once more is peace — duty has been fulfilled, 
and a little healthy exercise indulged in. The wolf-hound 
calls himself — in a low but quite distinct tone of self- 
approval, " Good-dog ! " Then he lies down with his chin 
on his paws and one eye asleep, with, deep in his 
cynical heart, the consciousness of having done his day's 


Apropos of " briquettes " there is another tale — not, 

however, such a long one this time. Upon 

a certain occasion I made the acquaintance ,^ ..,, 
c o • 1 • and Carditi 

ot a young engineer — Swiss he was, in c \ 

charge of a mountain railway. He got 

me a pass over one of the great lines to a point which I 

wished to reach, where some money was waiting for me. 

It is a good rule in Spain never to pay for anything when 

you can get it for nothing. This applies to other countries 

also. It is called the Rule of the Dead Head, and the 

observance of it causes you to be much respected, and to 

die very rich. 

So, well munitioned with pass and passport, I started 
over the line, keeping my eyes open. The young Swiss 
engineer accompanied me part of the way. We passed 
many large black heaps by the side of the line. They 
interfered with some of my best foregrounds. I asked if 
there was no redress. He said, ** No, I do not think so ! "" 
But, upon being cross-examined, he could only give the 
shallow reason that, after all, the Spanish authorities of 
the Madrid, Barcelona, and Alcoy Railway, had not asked 
me to come photographing along their line, nor even 
arranged their stopping-places with a view to anybody's 
convenience but their own. Any true artist will see the 
absurdity of this. Of course I threatened to communi- 
cate with my consul at once. 

" Well," said Herr Werther, ** certainly you may. But 
all the same, I can tell you something that is worth an odd 
photograph or two. Do you see that pile there ? " 

See it — I should think I did ! Had it not spoiled the 
finest — but no matter ! 

" Well," continued Herr Werther, calmly, "that is best 
Cardiff coal at thirty-five pesetas a ton, defivered at 
Bilbao ! " 


" Why, man," I cried, for I was learned in the evil stuff 
at that time, owing to a coal strike in my own happ}' 
country, " that is the very worst sort of briquette, and at 
the most is not worth more than five francs a cart- 
load ! " 

" Four, fifteen — to be exact," he answered, " but all the 
same, it is best Cardiff coal at thirty-five pesetas a ton, and 
I have the papers to prove it ! " 

And he had. For he pulled out immediately the report 
of the railway on which we were travelling. They burned 
nothing else than best Cardiff at the price named ! And 
the difference was divided (so at least said Herr Werther) 
between the railway manager and the son of a certain 
minister in Madrid. I will not be more particular because 
I do not wish to be stopped again at the frontier. But 
the facts are as stated. This shows how a little Cardiff coal 
leavens a whole lump — of briquettes. And now I under- 
stood all about the greasy flakes of smut. My only wonder 
is that they are not the size of my hand. I believe that on 
some lines naturalists chase them round with insect nets 
under the belief that they are a rare species of black 
butterfly! But as this may be untrue, I do not vouch for 
it. I myself have never even seen a naturalist in Spain, 
and the sole signs of his recent passage are the excellent 
and useful lists published in Mr. Hans Gadow's "Northern 

There is another story — but there is nothing so hard to 

stop (except a brawling woman in a wide house) as a 

succession of stories. Once I lunched with 

_, a novelist and an editor, and afteir lunch it 

Romancers , , , ^ , , , 

and an chanced that one of the party had an engage- 
Editor nient, so that only two of us got in the 
stories we were aching to tell. They related 
to our boyish days, and were of a humorous and exaggera- 



tive character. It was the (other) romancer and myself 
who were the successful competitors. But, in spite of an 
excellent lunch, the editor went away with bitter words on 
his tongue and a grudge in his heart. And he has (of 
course wholly without reason) slated all and sundry of our 
books since. And you can ask Mr. Robert Barr if this 
story is not true. He will, I know, back a brother up. 

As for the editor, one of us is going to put him in a book. 
We are to toss for the office of executioner, and the poor 
fellow's worst enemy cannot wish him a worse fate. 
Nevertheless, let justice take its course. He brought it 
upon himself We will not even say, " Let his name be 
forgotten !" because an editor's name always is forgotten. 

But I am in Spain and coming down, alone, through the 

snow, from the Pyreneean heights of Elisonda. A vague 

distant booming, which somehow made me think myself 

for a moment in Norway, had all at once grown louder. It 

increased till the thunder of it seemed to shake the world. 

Curiously enough I never once thought of a waterfall. . In 

Spain they are too careful of their water- 

er in e pQ^gj. jq consider the picturesque. But this 

Dry and . j ^ ^ c • u 

^t-.j J morning 1 was for once to see a Spanish 

river in flood. The Segre was flinging itself 
down furiously from the mountain heights. What had 
been a mere drift of rime down on the roofs of Elisonda had 
evidently fallen on Penalara in a solid "onding-o'-snaw." 
And now, the sun coming out, behold the Segre roaring 
in spate ! I had the camera in action, literally, in a couple 
of. shakes, amid the boom and the gusting spray. The 
great white agony of distressed water rose up in mist to 
the skies, tinged with the glories of many rainbows, which, 
alas ! the best camera of to-day does not yet enable us to 




The " Devil 

among the 


A bridge crossed the torrent near the spot, and it was 
all I could do to keep the Zeiss lens clear of the drifting 
spray, long enough to secure a picture. A little hunch- 
back man with a quick inquisitive eye came 
up and watched my movements. He 
appeared from nowhere in particular, and, 
had it been in the twilight, he might, to the 
superstitious eye, have passed for a brownie or the Black 
Dwarf himself. His skin, too, was yellow and parchmenty, 
and his hair matted. His arms hung below his knees, 
and his hands denoted great strength, being both knotted 
and bony, with square joints, as if they had somehow been 
fitted with more than their proper complement of bones. 


But for all thathe was a good little man and wise 
withal. At first I could make little of what he said. But 
as soon as he knew that I understood some Spanish and 
a good deal of Provencal, he stopped trying to talk French, 
and became intelligible. 

He was, he said, the guard of all the forests at the back 
there. They were of pine, and yearly becoming more 
valuable. They belonged to a certain Senor Valtierra. But 
there were many evil people about, and some who thought 
nothing of cutting a branch or even snipping off the top 
of a young tree in the bygoing, leaving it for a fortnight 
— and then, forsooth, asking him, Miguel, to give it to 
them for fuel to boil their pot ! But he was equal to 
them. They could not deceive him. 

Would I come and see his house ? Ah, would I not ? 
Was there anything I would like better ? It was nothing 
much of a house, he exclaimed, apologetically. But — such 
as it was, the Senor was welcome to all that it contained. 
And as for wood and wine and soup and bread — well, 
these were, after all, the food of every man — all that he 
needed for his life. 

Miguel Toro, that was his name. He had had a sister 
Cyrilla, he said, but she was dead. Since then he had 
been a " bachelor." Married ? No, who would have him 
with That upon his shoulders ? Then, he added this with 
an odd half-beseeching glance, " They call me ' The Devil 
who lives among the Stones ! '" It was indeed a terrifying 
name, but for all that there was a certain sweetness, 
almost childlike, in the little creature's face. And I tried 
my best to remember words not out of Ollendorff to 
express my sympathy. 

The abode of the " Devil among the Stones " was just 
on the edge of the young pine forest — indeed, it was set 
among a perfect wilderness of fallen rocks, boulders, and 



A House of 

the Stone 


jutting tables of stone. I think it was the strangest spot 
to be chosen for the abiding-place of man that I have 
ever seen — the rocky wilderness all about in front, the 
young pines immediately behind, and the older growths 
of thirty or forty years tossing their solid green tops 
beneath us far down in the valley. 

The house itself might have been built by the first man 
who ever trod the peninsula. If, like Pompeii, it had 
happened to be overwhelmed and dug up 
again, tourists would have come to see it 
from all over the world. It was compacted 
of smallish stones, gathered from the sur- 
rounding country, and appeared to be roughly unified by 

a kind of cement 
made of shell lime — 
which, however, was 
a thing wholl}' im- 
possible, thus far 
from the sea. To the 
front there were two 
glassless windows,, 
while three or four 
steps of broad granite 
conducted to a roof, 
low and flat, of 
which the rough- 
hew n Cyclopean 
flags no more sug- 
gested that 
men dwelt 
them than 
the bould- 
ers of the 


THE "devil's" back DOOR 


mountain-side itself. A heap of stones at one end 
roughly covered with scraps of tarpaulin showed where 
this roofing had given way, while two very modern 
chimneys with peaked wind-breaks of red earthen tiles, 
evidently baked within the last year or two, looked about 
as incongruous as a gilt weathercock on a mountain top. 

Inside, however, everything was of the neatest. The 
blasts certainly had done their liveliest in the matter of 
dust. But then we were high up, and if the valley wind 
brought in microbes, it also took them out again — and 
generally with extreme promptitude. 

But then, after all, the storm only blows one way at a 
time, and there were interior wooden shutters which could 
always be closed on the windy side. The floor of the 
cabin was perfectly clean, and stools and old wine-casks 
made comfortable enough seats. The only curious article 
was a photograph of a beautiful girl in a cheap gilt frame, 
such as are usually sold by travelling Teutons. 

"I can make myself a bed in the corner, and you shall 
have mine," said the hunchback, " if you will do me the 
honour to remain, and see my pines ! " 

But this favour I declined, on the double plea that 
the bed was too short and I too long. Adding also that 
in case of need I understood the art of confectioning a 
shake-down in the corner as well as any man. " The 
Devil among the Stones " looked at me, as if taking in 
my avowal. 

"You are, then, a poor man ? " he inquired. 

" So poor," I answered promptly, " that I shall scarce 
be able to repay you for your hospitality ! " 

He laughed, well-pleased in a moment, a kind of relief 
coming over his face. 

" Ah," he said, " then I am glad. Most here are afraid 
of Miguel Toro, though he is as respectable a man as any. 


But as soon as I saw you, 1 knew that you were 
not afraid. Men who have instruments to look through, 
boxes that click, are not afraid of the evil eye. I remember 
when the railway came through Tardiente near to Huesca, 
where I lived then — there were many who thought that 
it would go through all the Ebro Valley even into France. 
Then it was that I first saw the men that ran about every- 
where, and gazed, and drew on tables, and twisted little 
screws, almost as you did to-day ! And one of them, a 
Frenchman, stayed long with me, and I gave him the 
best goats' milk. Thrice in the day I gave it him, so that 
ere he went he was cured of the very devil's own rheum, 
which had long oppressed him, before ever he came to 
our country." 

" But," said I, " if you let me stay, you must also let me 
pay — that is, as I can ! " 

' ' Sir," cried the hunchback, " all this house is yours, even 
as if, were I in your country, yours would be at my service !" 

It was a lesson in high politeness, by which I trust that 
I profited. At any rate, I took off all that was left of my 
hat and bowed silently. There was no more to be said, 
at least on my side. 

But the little man desired to put me completely at 
my ease. 

" See," he said, " it is not as if the little you can eat and 
drink had to come off" my poor possessions. I have, it is 
true, a good wage, a proper wage — but then Senor 
Valtierra knows when he has a man in whom he can 
repose confidence, and he gives me in addition all the wine 
that I can drink. For I am no drunkard, as you shall see, 
nor encourager of drunkenness — like these Carlist rascals 
up there at EHsonda ! I suppose your honour has heard 
of them. A pretty lot ! — Heavens, what gulls we of the 
mountain provinces are ! We are never happy unless we 


are deceiving ourselves. Which, after all, is a harmless 
thing in comparison with deceiving other people — though, 
they tell me, not nearly so profitable ! And the Senor 
also allows me wheat and barley, as much as I like, from 
his barns, for the making of bread. I have an oven there 
at the back — all is complete within itself. And of the 
resin which flows from the tapping of the trees — both the 
dry white stuff that clings about the carre^ and the golden- 
brown that flows down like honey into the little dishes ot 
red clay, I get a full twelfth ! Ah, there are not many 
masters like Senor Valtierra ! " 

" Nor," said I, making him a low bow, " many such 
faithful servants as Don Miguel Toro, the steward and 
caretaker of the aforesaid Senor Valtierra ! " 

He sprang forward and seized me by the hand. Against 
his will the tears welled up in his eyes. I think he had 
not known much kindness in his life. 

" I wish my sister Cyrilla had been here," he said, " if 

it were only to have heard the gentleman stranger speak 

thus of her poor brother — that would have 
" Mv Sister 
P .,1 II given her great pleasure. But, Senor, she 

^ is dead. God took her. And it was just 

in time, for, indeed, this place was not fit for her ! " 

I could not help thinking, however, that it was possibly 
the lack of glass in the windows and the superfluity of 
draughts in the chambers that had caused the " disap- 
pearance " of the late Dona Cyrilla. 

But in this I was wrong. The story of the Dona Cyrilla 
went far deeper, and, by a strange chance, I was to find 
it out. The least curious of persons at home — abroad and 
among the common, unpretending, broadly-humoured folk 
of other lands, I become like the beasts in the Revelation, 
" full of eyes behind and before." 



When it was bedtime we brought in the dry, keenly 
aromatic plants of the waste — bracken from the pine-wood 
edges, juniper, the great sterile mare's-tail fronds from 
among the boulders, the birch and dwarf heath from the 
bridge-end. And so in no long time a couch was laid out 
in the corner, fit for a king to rest upon. 

As we shook hands that night the little hunchback 
said, ** Friend of mine, you have done me the honour to 
abide in my house. To-morrow I will show you the 
secrets of the woods, and as I have also seen you look at 
her picture on the wall there — I will tell you the story of 
Cyrilla, the sister whom I have lost. That too will do 
me good." 

To-morrow dawned in a great wash ot lemon yellow, 
deepening to orange behind the 
pines. A lake of crimson col- 
lected in a hollow, as it were for 
the sun's morning bath. Flakes 
of pink and salmon-colour flew 
every way like rockets sent up 



to announce his coming. It was a sunrise worthy of an 
Order of the Golden Fleece — even in Spain. I have 
never forgotten it among the many thousands I have 
seen. For I never miss a sunrise, if I can help it — 
though, truth to tell, I would hardly go across the room 
to see a sunset. Which, of course, is a matter of tem- 
perament — and partly temper. 

I had been long on the roof. In spite of the delight ot 
my balsamic couch, I had not slept much. But then that 
in no way interfered with my enjoyment of the hour. For 
in these days I had got my sleeping down almost to the 
one straw which proved the limit of the ass in the matter 
of diet. 

What really mattered was that Senor Valtierra's pines 
were that day to render me up their secrets. They 
seemed very calm about the affair, tossing their heads 
with a high-bred action, in the moderate wind which the 
sunrise had brought with it from the east. But the pines, 
those noble heedless fellows down there, were fated to 
become infinitely more personal to me than I had ever 

Now if I had been writing a novel, I never would have 
dared to put in that which follows. A novel is life with 
the connections put in. Or contrariwise, life is a novel 
with the connections left out. 

In a novel you must explain and explain, leading up to 

how Jane came to know Julius — how the black-hearted 

murderer Morpher, thinking to rob a 

church, opens the door and finds himself 

- , . face to face with his own long-lost daughter, 

who is the caretaker. Such things must 

be explained — in a novel. 

But every one knows that in real life it is not so. The 

actual connections are never those which you think of. 



You review an unknown man's book in an obscure 
periodical, and his daughter becomes your wife through all 
time. In a house where you never were before, and where 
you are never likely to be again, you notice a girl sitting 
in a corner. She lifts her eyes — and for the two of you, 
death itself doth not divide. You knock up against a man 
in the street. He is extremely uncivil. He has been in 
the gutter and you threaten to call the police. He ceases 
his abuse and is in the act of begging a sixpence, when — 
lo ! before you stands the college comrade who '* roomed " 
with you through half-a-dozen years, who shared a crust 
off the same loaf, slept in the same bed, and, when you 
parted, swore an eternal friendship. You had never heard 
of him since ! That is life — there are no connections. 
You go on from street to street, and at every corner 
something happens to you. Can you say what or who is 
waiting for you just round the next? 

The big droning city, the clattering street, the shrill 
station, flavoured with its floating drifts of steam, 
the hurly-burly of mounting and dismounting from rail- 
way carriages — these are the true connectives of life. 
But they will not do for the novelist — at least not for him 
who would conquer and keep the confidence of his readers. 
In a story a thing must not only have happened, but the 
writer must make it appear that it could not possibly have 
happened otherwise ! 

Now our criminal cases are but indifferently reported 
compared with those of France. Yet take such a consecu- 
tion of events as was laid bare in the comparatively recent 
Monson-Ardlamont case, or in that of Madeleine Smith in 
the later fifties. How bewilderingly impossibility follows 
on impossibility ! They tread on each other's heels — so 
fast they come. Nothing, say the critics, says the average 
novel reader — could possibly have happened so. 


To-day the great paper in which to find criminal 
reports in France — and a most fair, sane, all-round journal 
— is Le Petit Parisien. Now I venture to say that of the 
twenty or thirty cases reported there every week, 
scarcely one runs on " natural " lines. Hardly one which 
would be credited if transported wholesale into the pages 
of a novel. Some are too monstrous — all are too crude. 
It is the reductio ad absurdum of realism. This one and 
that are unbelievable, because the victim's mother — his 
wife — his eldest son could not possibly have acted so. 
But the strange thing is that they did. The detective 
and his quarry voyaged together to Le Havre, neither 
suspecting the other's identity. But, as the local officers 
had been warned by telegraph and were on the alert, it 
was (of course) the detective who was arrested ! The 
criminal got clean away. This is not the plot for a comic 
opera. It is only a fact. But it would not do for fiction, 
save perhaps as an extravaganza in Punch, charmingly 
written by Mr. Anstey, with illustrations by Bernard 
Partridge or Gordon Browne. 

I had sat on the roof waiting for the little hunchback 
to awake. He had been sleeping in another room, some- 
where to the back, from the window of which he could 
see far up into the alleys of the pines, as they climbed the 
hill-slopes and spread themselves out scatteringly across 
the plain. Long straight avenues were driven clean 
through their serried ranks — left probably in the planting. 
And any evil-doer had a bad time of it, if the sharp eyes 
of Miguel, the caretaker of Senor Valtierra's woods, 
lighted on him, as they often did from his window-sill. 

For me, I sat and waited in innocence, smoked also, 
and listened for the first stirrings of my host underneath. 
But I listened in vain — and that for a sufficient reason. He 


had been up and awa}', in order that he might make his 
necessary rounds, long before I was awake. 

A good resinier must, in the season, visit three or four 
hundred trees a day — tapping, cutting, emptying, scraping, 
closing up old wounds. And Miguel Toro knew that, 
with his short legs, it would be impossible for him to do 
justice to his master's work, and also afterwards explain 
the processes to me, as he had promised to do. Besides, 
there was the story of Cyrilla. 

So, before the earliest grey light of dawn he had stolen 
out, moving like a shadow. He had passed my couch, 
yet I had not awaked — though the beetle tapping with 
his head on the beam to summon his sweetheart, or a bird 
twittering on the roof, will usually call me from the 
deepest slumber. Yet Miguel Toro I had not heard. 

On his shoulder he had taken his ladder, his pitay — the 
easily-carried, single-framed ladder, with rounds project- 
ing at either side, which the forest-guard carries with him 
in these northern ptnadas. 

An hour went past — two hours — three, and the little 

man did not return. To my northern stomach it seemed 

that it was time for a meal. I descended, 

entering by the door, and there on the table, 

plainly laid out for me, I found a loaf of 

bread, some goats'-milk cheese, and a flagon of wine. I 

had passed them before in the dark, intent only on the 

waking glory of the sunrise without, which, as it were, was 

ringing an alarm bell through the open window spaces. 

It was all very pleasant and thoughtful of the little man, 
and I partook heartily. But what of my host ? It was 
surely time that he should have returned. I took a 
photograph or two here and there, and then, mounting 
again upon the roof, looked out every way for Miguel 
Toro. But the sun, now driving upwards from the^moun- 


tains above, soon made it too hot for me up there, and I 
retreated into the cabin. Now I found out why the flag- 
stones had been quarried so thick, and the windows left 
glassless and unframed. But taught by experience I 
closed the rough interior shutters on the sunny side, and 
the stone cavern, for it was little more, became at once 
the coolest place for miles. I made a raid on the water- 
pitcher, which, of grey porous pottery, stood in an 
unlighted cellar with a wet cloth about it. If in any land 
there is anything cooler than Spanish water thus kept, I 
envy that country the beverage and its people the drinking 
of it. Afterwards I found that the cottage had been 
placed where it was, out of the forest, for the double 
reason that a spring lay close beside it, under a great 
flat boulder, and also that, owing to some peculiarity 
of the soil or the absence of stagnant v/ater, the mosqui- 
toes, all too plentiful in summer, confined themselves 
mostly to the lower forest glades. 

My little hunchback had turned the gilded picture-frame 
with its face to the wall, an action which (I found after- 
wards) he performed carefully every night — probably in 
fulfilment of some superstitious vow of his own. I 
re-turned it, and looked long at the photograph. It repre- 
sented a dark-haired girl, with a full passionate mouth 
and great, wide-open, somewhat bold eyes. From the 
kind of paper upon which the photograph was printed I 
could tell that it must have been taken about ten years ago. 
That particular kind of Printing-Out Paper with the imita- 
tion enamel glaze upon the surface, had been put upon the 
French and English markets about that time. The 
photograph itself had been taken at Toulouse. Doubtless 
a woman would have drawn much the same conclusion 
from the dress of the subject. But as only the girl's 
head and shoulders were included (loathsomely vignetted. 


with marks of the adherent cotton wool) that might have 
been a more difficult investigation. But, at any rate, I was 
quite sure about the Printing-Out Paper. 

Yet all the while, no word of my host. I looked out ol 
the door repeatedly, but there was no sign of him. Once 
again I mounted to the hot roof. The pine alleys were 
bare and greyish-white. The sun, as it rose higher, had 
licked up bit by bit the blue shadows. But there was 
still coolness in the pathless aisles of the wood. I would 
go and look for him. I would shout. Perhaps — I hoped 
not — some ill had befallen the poor little man. 

I remembered suddenly that he had spoken of evildoers 
who had threatened his trees — his precious earthenware 
resin-cups. I was sure he would make a fight for them. 
He was going to a far back part of the wood, so he had 
told me. It came upon me quite suddenly that he might 
have fallen into hands unfriendly. So, for the first time 
in Spain, I took out my revolver, oiled, cleaned, recharged 
it, and, slipping it loosely back into the pocket of my 
jacket, I stepped over the boulder which kept the well- 
water cool, and strode off into the green quiet of the 

The restless tits cheeped and whistled aloft, sending 

down little crackling messages, as is their wont. A large 

green snake, harmless enough, rustled away. 

Crickets sang loud among the fallen pine 

needles. A frog croaked in a Jiollow crotch 

of a tree, in which probably there was some rain water. 

But these noises did not detract from the silence, and 

when I shouted it sounded like insulting the solemn 

reposefulness of a cathedral. 

" Toro — Senor Toro ! " 

As ever, the Spanish vocables carried far. But, near 
or far, only the echoes came back to me. I shouted again. 


Still the same uncanny silence ! I wished that I had had 
" General Prim " with me then, though I had not the 
ghost of a bone to give him, nor so much as a snack at a 
number of the Correspondancia. Still, for old sake's sake 
— who knows, he might have helped me. 

Then I tried all the old detective dodges I had read about 
— from those of Monsieur Ducocq to the more modern 
methods of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. But perhaps I had 
begun too late in life. At any rate, I made no headway. 
Either the ground was too dry, or on this occasion I 
lacked the eyes behind and before. Certainly I had 
not the key to the situation. All I found out for my pains 
was that pinadas are inhabited by a peculiar long-bodied, 
browny-black ant, unchristian of temper and carnivorous 
in its habits. I found this out by having a field-force of 
these animals crawl up my trousers. So I had to strip on 
the spot and pick off each ant in detail, tearing him 
(probably if) limb from limb, and, after all, leaving the 
head sticking. These are not good table-manners, I know, 
but let the precisian who objects write and tell me (no, the 
publisher !) what he would have done in like circum- 

Besides, after all, there were only the tits to observe 
me, and they did not look particularly interested — though 
one did come and sit with his head to the side, while I 
turned my trousers inside out, hanging them over a branch 
for the purpose of making a more critical inspection. A 
smallish Pyreneean bear came sniffing past, but, evidently 
not liking the look of the top-heavy grey thing perched 
on the two white poles (and besides being a strict vege- 
tarian by habit), he went on grumbling down the slope. 
The natives hereabout say the bears are fond of ants after 
they have eaten honey — possibly as a sort of relish — so 
this gentleman may have taken me for a bear and a 


brother. For at that moment my quarry was the big 
brown ant. But in reality I was no competitor. Senor 
Bruin can have all the ants — black, white, red, and brown 
— that he wants for me. 

All the same, I tied a string tight about each ankle to 
discourage any more insect tribes from attempting to 
establish a right-of-way. Then I plunged deeper into the 
forest. In spite of the bird noises there is a peculiar 
stillness about a pine wood. The leaves do not rustle 
and shiver, yet the shade is deep. The coolness is like a 
bath. A pine-wood is my earliest conscious memory. I 
think I should die easier in one, especially if there were 
an outlook from it giving upon the heather. Furthermore, 
one can dream such noble day-dreams there — almost as 
good as those which come to you in church in sermon 

Deeper and deeper I penetrated into the obscurity, but 
still no sign of the little resinier. The fear that something 
had happened redoubled within me. Through the silence 
I sent my voice — going forward rapidly as I did so. From 
the shortness of the echo I knew that I was nearing the 
outer edge of the wood, where it ceased abruptly on the 
hill-side. Presently I could see the talus of rough 
avalanche stones, and beyond the great uplift of the 
mountain bastion, to which not even a pine would cling. 

Then all at once, so close that I almost fell over it, I 

saw before me, in the middle of the path, the body of the 

little hunchback. His ladder had slipped 

^ sideways from the trunk of a great tree, and 

^ he had fallen — not very far truly. But in 

falling he had struck his head against a stone, and so lay 

silent and unconscious. Hastily I knelt by him, with a 

hand thrust underneath his blouse upon his heart. He 

was alive — only stunned. There was a considerable gash 



on his temple. His hapshot lay by his side, and also the 
pot in which was the clear honey-like goma restna he had 
been collecting. 

Dipping my finger in the pot I smeared the wound 
freely to stop the bleeding — which it did at once. Then 
I took the little man on my back. He felt no heavier than 
my half-plate camera does after a league or two — such a 
rickle of bones was he. 

I do not remember much about that homeward journey. 
My heart drummed in my ears and the sweat poured 
down. Also I had many thoughts. I was alone in a strange 
land. I had found a man wounded, perhaps unto death. 
There might be vengeance. There would certainly be 
law. In the meantime there must be humanity. So I 
carried the little man home, as one carries a child. I 
had wandered, as it seemed, idly among the columns of 
the trees, when I went out to search for him. Now I 
seemed not to waste a step. I knew the way as if I had 
been born among the pines. Not once did I swerve from 
the direct line to the stone hut. Thus I brought home 
poor Miguel of the Evil Eye, the " Devil among the 
Rocks," all my heart mourning over him. 

It was the last two hundred yards in the full sun-glare 
that took it out of me. And, I am not ashamed to tell it, 
it was I who took the first draught of water from the big 
water jar. Necessarily so, otherwise Miguel Toro might 
have waited long enough for his. But the sudden cool- 
ness of the hut striking me within and without, brought 
me to myself My ears stopped singing. I dipped my 
handkerchief in the overflow and wrung it out on his head. 
Then I poured a little wine and water slowly down his throat. 

Upon which he looked about him with that unsurprised 
vagueness and content which is characteristic of those 
who have been long unconscious. 


" Who are you ? " he asked, gazing fixedly at me. 

I told him what had happened so far as I could. He 
strove to rise. 

" I must go for my hatchet and the ladder," he exclaimed, 
• " there are many bad people about ! And they are the 
property of Senor Valtierra." 

I told him that I would go myself for them, as soon as 
as it was safe to leave him. He touched his head, which 
by this time I had bandaged securely. 

" I must have hurt myself in falling from the pitay^^ he 
said. " Cyrilla always prophesied it before she went 
away. But a ladder with double sides is too heavy for 
me to carry ! " 

I had happily all manner of dressings in my little 
case, and also some simple medicaments with me. It was 
therefore possible for me to dress the little man's head 
properly. It was doubtless a bad scalp wound — still, 
cleansed and dressed, there was no reason why it should 
be dangerous. But his heart was beating far too fast. I 
think there must have been something the matter there — 
too close packing, or, owing to his hunchback, the organs 
in some fashion thrust out of their places. I had some 
pellets of phenacetin with me — Burroughs and Well- 
come's. So, rightly or wrongly, I took it upon me to 
exhibit four of these at intervals of a quarter of an hour. 
After the second dose the dryness went from his skin. 
With the third his heart fell to a regular gait. He began to 
breathe regularly, and presently he went quietly to sleep. 
I believe that I might have killed him by this treatment. 
Doctors have told me so since, and also that my homicide 
would not, like theirs, have been "covered by prescrip- 
tions." But I was in for so many risks already that one 
more did not seem to matter much. At any rate *' the 
proof of the puddin* was in the preein' o't " in this case, 



and my amateur doctoring worked as well as if it had 
been sanctioned by several Royal Colleges of Physicians. 
While the little man was asleep I went back into the 
forest for his ladder and tools so that I might bring ease 
to his mind. They were by his bedside when he awoke, 
and, I think, did him as much good as the medicine 

After the accident began one of these times, scarce 

pleasant in themselves — that is, from the hotel-bedroom 

and afternoon-tea standpoint of comfort — 

^ which yet dwell with a curious insistence in 

^ . the memory. The forest-guard was so 

^ ,, seriously wounded that it would be some 

gatherer -^ 

time before he could take up his duties 
again. In addition to the cut on his head he had twisted 
his ankle, so that he could not set it to the ground 
without severe pain. Doctor there was none nearer than 
El Seo. Any hospital was as far off as Zaragoza. 

And besides, asked the forest-guard pertinently, what 
in the meantime was to come of his dearly-beloved, well- 
considered pines, the pride of his life ? Could they be 
left to the " evil people " of whom he spoke so often ? 
Well, I bethought me, what if I myself should become 
locum tenens ? I had my writing materials and plenty of 
ideas — such at least as they were. It might be an excel- 
lent thing for me to settle down in the hut and thus gain 
a certain new experience of life. So this is what I did. 
No one looked near us from morning till night. Once 
only I walked down to a town, eight leagues away to the 
south, where there was a branch of a bank, whence I 
returned with my correspondence, a packet of criss-cross 
foreign writing paper and some violet ink, sticky as 


But I was 
wholly without 
instruction as to 
the method of 
collecting resin, 
and the hunch- 
back Miguel had 
to teach me from 
the alphabet up- 
ward — all lying 
on his back. I 
did not even know 
how to make the 
necessary inci- 
sions in the bark. 
But I brought in 
a fresh branch, 
hewn for the pur- 
pose, and with 
four neat strokes 
of his hapshot 
Toro showed me 
how to cut the 
requisite depth 
into the bark, how to arrange the wound so that the 
thicker white resin should collect about the cicatrice 
depositing layer on layer, and how also to make the 
little vertical trench for the clear-running ^^w/Wfr. 

Seldom have I done pleasanter work. Never perhaps 
have 1 lived so close to the original life-story of man. On 
his part the hunchback had a curious consuming rever- 
ence for my work of writing. He would lie long hours as 
I scribbled on my knee by the window, smiling and watch- 
ing. I wish that all critics had the same reverence for 



literature — or at least for mine. When I was out about 
the trees, or busied in the cellar with my photography, 
'he would ask that the loose leaves of my book should be 
left on the little wooden table beside his bed for him to 
look after. They were a comfort, he said, and as he 
could not read a word there was no invidious personality 
in the compliment. 

When I changed my plates or developed he loved to 
watch every movement. So I did the deed beside him, 
generally at midnight, with all the windows closed and 
the wooden shutters stuffed about with rags. But the 
hunchback, thinking that his eyes were beholding the 
marvels of science, never made the least complaint, though 
long before I had finished you could have cut the atmo- 
sphere with a hapshot. And he never tired of my showing 
him the same little pocket collection of children's photo- 
graphs, which the Bishop had loved so much. He would 
beg for them to be laid beside him when I went out into 
the wood. And he would turn them over with one finger, 
tenderly — lying and looking a long time at each, sometimes 
an hour at a time, so that his eyes had grown misty and 
wistful by the time I came back. 

But the woods — ah, the woods ! High on the hillside 
in the early morn I scrambled up and up till I got to the 
limit of the domains of Senor Valtierra, which were also 
mine for the time being. I grew rich in this perfection of 
solitude and took as much pleasure in doing a good 
"round" all by myself as if I had been Miguel Toro him- 
self! I knew that when I came in the forest-keeper's 
first act would be to examine the leather-bound packet of 
barras, or ingots of crude white resin, which I slipped off 
my shoulder, as well as the strained honey from the 
dripping earthern pitchers, the gonia or, in patois, gemma. 
And when Miguel praised me, which was not always, I 


knew I had done well. And I was happy, almost as when 
the One-a-man-loves praises what he has written, which I 
take to be the truest pleasure of literature — far above 
publishers' accounts. 

But because it is a new thing, I must tell the story of 
one of my Pyreneean mornings — so little like the scramble 
of cities, or the numbing routine of our northern life, with 
its meals at regular hours, its responsibilities, its inter- 
ruptions, even its pleasures. For a while, then, I would 
live as the first man lived when he came down out 
of the branches. Indeed, as it was, I had much to do 
with the branches and the tree-tliings, with the sweet 
clean scents of the woodlands — at least of those pine 
plantations which had been of set purpose leaned up edge- 
ways against the mountain sides. I learned how easily 
injured the young trees are by the downward silt of the 
slaty debris, the harassment of torrents bursting from 
above, the bombardment out of the thunderclouds, the 
steady pressure of the congealed snow which breaks the 
branches. I had time to let all this knowledge soak in — 
and, oh ! how much desire ! 

The morning usually showed grey before I set the ashes 
of the last night's fire alight, piling some dry pine-cones 
upon them to make my coffee. The little 
hunchback lay watching me, a kind of grave ° 

amusement mingled with his gratitude. For 
one who could write with a fountain-pen, and manipulate 
screws, and make photographs as he had seen me do, I 
was strangely awkward at such simple things as cooking 
ham and frying eggs. When I burned my fingers, he 
laughed. When the charcoal fell out and I stamped — he 
laughed again. Often and often I did these things on 
purpose, for the pure delight of hearing him laugh. It did 


him good like medicine, to see me so stupid, and after a 
while he would take it upon him to scold me and say that 
if Cyrilla had been there, she could have showed me the 
way. Never was such a clever girl as Cyrilla. Never one 
so attractive ! Men — rich men even, came seeking her in 
marriage from far away. But — I knew what women were. 
How they would take no advice ! Well, no more would 
Cyrilla — not even from her brother. And so — and so ! 

But the story — ah, that was a long business. He would 
tell it me another day. In the meantime, if I had finished 
the breakfast, would I put the basin and towel where he 
could wash up the dishes — and, if I could spare them, the 
bundle of children's photographs beside him ? 

There was a little cane-built hut, just on the verge of the 
woods, where there were some of Senor Valtierra's tools and 
implements left from the last wood-cutting. For at thinning 
time many pit-props and telegraph poles went down the Segre 
and so on to the railway. Aye, he told Miguel Toro that 
some of them even went as far as England. But Miguel 
could not understand how that could be, because he knew 
it for a fact (the screw-turning railroad surveyor had told 
him) that the Segre did not flow through England. Nor 
did any of the railways of the Peninsula run thither, owing 
to the changing of the gauge at the frontiers. Ah, what a 
fine idea ! That was done to prevent — and here Miguel 
Toro became excessively military. Or at least would have 
done, if I had not wrapped him about in a blanket, and 
carried him like a child out into the little cane-shed on the 
forest edges. I laid him there on the side which looked 
towards the woods but was sheltered from the sun. From 
his couch he could see his beloved pine trees, and I set about 
him the pictures that his soul craved, a loaf of bread and a 
rough sweating pitcher of wine and water. I would be 
back before the heat of the day, I promised him. He 


nodded — eager, as I knew well, to be at the pictures. I 
picked up my ladder, a longer and heavier one than that 
used by Miguel, my hapshot or long-handled chopper, my 
leathern bag for harras and my sticky collecting pot. 

By this time the sun had risen high, and the edges 01 
the woods began to dry up. Only in the deepest recesses 


did the dew on the undergrowth of toadstools and giant 
mares'-tails wet the stockingless uppers of my feet where 
they emerged from my alpargatas. 

After the first plunge into the silence I had time to look 
about me. Here was a tree to be tapped anew. Miguel's 
old scars were upon it. To be successful I -must go lower 
or higher — to this side or that. Here, however, was a 
virgin yet intact. But the time was at hand — first a notch 
about which to sling the earthen pot, then four cuts 
shrewdly administered on the shady side, and a deft 
runnel beneath for the oozing yellow honey. Then down 
the ladder I skipped, whence I looked at my work from 


below with satisfaction. Whether Miguel, upon his re- 
covery, would share that satisfaction, I knew not — but 
certainly I did the best I could. 

For an hour or two after this there was little repose for 

me. From this tree to that, I passed — scraping, arranging, 

healing up, renewing the wound on the side 

. ,1 ,^. , where it had been clogged by the barras. 
in the Woods r ^ ., , , , .u . *u u i t 

Let It be set down that on the whole 1 was 

a good locum tencns. For, if I did net gather in many new 

patients, I at least preserved those committed to me in good 

and paying disrepair. 

Of course, after a while, not being to the manner born, 
my energies, such as they were, began to flag. The bag 
was full and heavy, the pot nearly so, and my hands of 
necessity extremely sticky. A rest was absolutely 
requisite. The good workman is worthy of his siesta. 
The bad one takes it whether or no. Good or bad, there- 
fore, I stretched me down on my back, and in the forenoon 
silence let my mind loose to explore. This was to me the 
hour of hours. 

The sun might be in full blaze outside but here one 
heard only the iveel-weet of the tits, and, far off, the half- 
smothered drumming of the torrent which hurled itself 
down the slope just outside the domains of Senor 

Gradually, however, as the hours passed, hunger over- 
came the noblest thoughts, and, in very truth reluctlantly, 
I made my way homewards. Once I found Miguel Toro 
half-fascinated, half-alarmed, leaning up on his bed, his 
swathed head looking ghastly enough in the dim green 
scatter of the light through the caiia-thatch. 

He held a photograph in his hand — one developed and 
printed at El Seo — as rude and crude as the absence of 
apparatus and the scarcity of washing water could make 


it. But I had mounted it on brown paper with a protective 
flap, and it looked none so ill. 

" It is strange — strange ! " he said, his voice suppressed. 
"Who is this?" 

"That," said I, "is a little Spanish girl belonging to a 
great Carlist family of the Sierra Moncayo, At present 
she is being educated in France." 

" Still it is strange," he said, " indeed more strange than 
ever. She is very like Cyrilla— my sister— Cyrilla — who 
went away, she whose picture you turned to look at, and 
-forgot to put back again with its face to the wall ! " 

And after this followed, what I had so long desired to 
hear, the story of Cyrilla, the sister of Miguel the Hunch- 




This is the story which the little hunchback told me, lying 
on his couch of heath and juniper, under the shady eaves 
of the cane-roofed hut, whence his eyes 
could take in the green haze of woods, with, u°^^ 

beyond them, the grey and purple hillside „ v.t-> v 
quivering through the heat of noon. 

" My father (said the hunchback), who was a cultivator 
near Ripoll, just where you trench the hills to descena 
into the valley — they have made a road that way now — • 
died when I was but a boy of fourteen, and, with very 
little money, left me one treasure to look after — this little 
Cyrilla, my sister. 

" Yes, a strange name, and an uncommon — but beauti- 
ful and suitable for her. She, too, was of a loveliness — 
yes, and winning, even knowledgably winning too, all the 
days of her. Ah, no, Senor — you do not understand, she 
and I had no companions then, girl or boy. I was but a 
child when my father died. And — I had this between my 
shoulders. True, they did not call me then ' The Devil 
among the Stones.' But they called me — other things 
which hurt even more. But though no other girl would 


look at me, she loved me, tliis little Cyrilla, and was 
nowise afraid of me or of my ugly looks. 

" And one day the great Senor Valtierra saw her, when 
she and I were out at the goat-herding on the scanty 
pastures my father had left me. And as she ran this 
way and that, chasing a butterfly and screaming for the 
joy of being alive, Senor Valtierra turned to look after the 
child. He was on horseback and he looked long, as a 
man of forty may look at a little maid of six or seven — 
thoughtfully, pondering on the things which ten years 
might bring her. 

" Ah, and in all that came after, I had no fault to find 
with Senor Jose Lopez Valtierra. He was (and is) a very 
king among men, and that which he did, he did for the 
best and the wisest. 

"And — 'At any rate, Miguel Toro,' he said, 'your 
father being dead — how do you expect to educate a girl 
like that ? ' 

"You understand, Senor, he has the short abrupt 
Catalan manner of speech, even when he talks Castellano. 
It is natural to him, and also, in a way, he prides himself 
upon it. 

" * That,' I answered, abashed, ' is as God wills. He it 
is who opens up the way for us poor folks. But, if I can 
keep goats and make cheese to some purpose, I may surely 
hope to feed and clothe this my sister ! ' 

" He pondered, the Senor, watching her from his saddle, 
while she tried to make a riding-horse of Ramon, our great 
wolf-hound. Then he rubbed his grizzled cheek. ' I am 
of full age,' he said, 'and have the name of being rich. 
As a man you know me, Miguel ! Or at least your father 
did. Give me your sister that she may be educated along 
with Juana, my daughter. She is pale and — perhaps, 
who knows, this wild goat of the hills ma}' lend her some 


part of her life. Never have I seen a child in whom the 
blood runs so fast. Come hither, Httle one ! ' 

" So, giving up the chase after her butterfly and her 
teasing of Ramon, Cyrilla came — but even then none too 

wilHngly. And I think that, smiHng behind . ,_,„ , ^ 

I- u- u J r» T T .u u. AAXTildGoat 

his big beard, Don Jose Lopez thought none 

1 r 1 r ^ A 1 O* 1X16 JtllUS 

the worse of her for that. Aye, even when 
she was but a Uttle child, there was no one like my Cyrilla 
to draw the eyes of men. They pondered upon her. 
They watched her — good men too, wondering, as did the 
Senor Valtierra, as to where she would arrive. Yet here 
am I, at whom no woman would look — and, lo ! I am safe 
and sound, with the pulses beating in my wrists like the 
ticking of a clock, while she — is not ! 

"All the same it was some time before I could make up 
my mind to let her go from me. For what was I — alone 
there on my father's hillside, ploughing a few hard-featured 
acres with pain and toil ? If it had not been for Cyrilla, 
would I have had the courage to go on ? Had I anything 
to go on for ? 

"At last, however, I made up my mind to let her go 
with Juana Valtierra — ^after all it was only to a school in 
Tarragona — with the Good Sisters to teach these two. 
But when she came back the first time, telling us that she, 
too, was going to be a nun and that she had already 
chosen her name — Sister Encarnacion it was — I declare I 
laughed aloud. For, you see, she had grown beautiful. 
Senor, the red blood kept coming and going as she spoke^ 
in her cheeks, and when she pouted her lips (which she 
did often) they were red as the blossom of wild poppy 
out on the campo yonder ! And once I caught the little 
witch biting them to make them redder. But that was 
when Senor Valtierra was expected to ride by. So in that 
case there was some excuse. 


" Thus things went on. The days ran like a flowing 
river and the years were added up like a sum given out 
in a school — of the which Cyrilla told me, for I v/as never 
in such places myself. 

" Then one day as I came down from the mountain 
with my flock, lo ! at the door, gloved and veiled, with a 
dress the like of which I had never seen, stood a lady — a 
young, a very young lady. But, Senor, when I tell you 
that she might have been the princess — the king's own 
daughter — I tell you no lie — save in this, that I very hand- 
somely flatter any Bourbon who ever lived. For I have 
seen their women-kind, and, compared with my Cyrilla, 
they are all as the commonest of kitchen-wenches. 

" Nevertheless Cyrilla it was. And she laughed with 
glee at me standing stupidly there on the pasture edge, 
and especially at my taking her for a young Senorita ! 
Then she pulled off her gloves and put a\\^ay her hat in 
one of her mother's presses, on the top of the old linen 
that smelled of lavender. Afterwards she rolled up her 
sleeves, caught her new pretty skirts about her with a 
nurse's pin, and so fell to the sweeping. Hardly had she 
done this when in came — who but young Adan Blasco. 
Fate it was — yes, hard fate for him. For had he trodden 
on a poison-snake he could not have gotten a greater 
misfortune. Because if Cyrilla looked beautiful before, in 
her veil and pretence of city ways, she looked ten times 
more so now — especially when, having flown to explore 
the contents of the larder, she rolled up her sleeves yet 
further and set herself, like her father's own daughter, to 
the bread-making. 

" And ever as she worked she glanced up at Adan. Ah, 
I am not blmd, even I — the Devil among the Stones — 
can see as well as another. For I have the heart in me 
to sympathise — mayhap too much, with the doings of 



young folk. All the more, perhaps, that it has not come to 

me — no, nor ever will ! 

" She glanced up once and then again at Adan, that 

wicked Cyrilla. Well enough I saw her. And I could 

_ have told her that there was not the least 

That Wicked 

need to make hay of the heart of poor 

^ young Adan Blasco, who was a shepherd, 

and (at that time) had a heart as soft as that of the 

tenderest, prettiest lamb in his flock. But for all and all, she 

would not let him go. Then she would come over to me, 

putting her arms (all floury they were, but of the mould of 

a goddess) about my neck, and rubbing her soft cheek 

against mine, complaining all the while of the bristles ! 

Oh, if I could tell but half of the ways that she had 

learned at Tarragona, to tease and tantalise that poor 

young man, I should not be believed — even by you. But 

perhaps it might be a warning to some ! 

'* Yet it seems strange to me that, when, the next day, 
there came her friend Juana Valtierra, that was a Senorita 
in deed and in truth (because her father was a great pro- 
prietor), lo ! she had none of these ways at all. Indeed, 
she was pale and sapless as a willow six weeks cut and 
laid in the sun, and her lips — why, they looked as if they 
had never been kissed once in all her life. 

"Well, the two girls went about our poor little place 
and laughed and whispered, and seemed greatly pleased 
with each other. But it was Cyrilla that whispered 
the most and Juana who giggled. Then nothing would 
do the pair but I must send over word to Senor Valtierra, 
that his daughter would stay all the night at our house, 
sleeping in one bed with Cyrilla. Because their talk was 
not half done, they said. How could they separate ? Yet 
was 1 quite sure that so soon as he heard the thing, Don 
Jose would mount and bring back his daughter in anger 


— perhaps forbidding my minx Cyrilla ever again to enter 
his doors. 

" Howsomever, the girls being decided — it ended, of 
course (as you, who understand women, know) in my 
giving way. You may resist one woman — but two women, 
when they have made up their minds — and set themselves 
separately to the coaxing, are as death and destruction ! 

" So, because I was under great obligations to the 
Senor Don Jose Lopez Valtierra, I resolved to go over on 
my plough-horse and tell him everything myself. I could 
ride a horse then, Senor. You would scarce believe it, to 
look at me now. But, indeed, I rode none that ill. 

" So I set out, pursued even to the edge of the great 
road by the messages, svv^eet and submissive on the part 
of Juana, impertinent and irreverent on that of Cyrilla, 
which they gave me to convey to Don Jose ! 

"But, of course, I did not mean to repeat these. Ill 
would it have become me ! Well, I found the Senor 
Valtierra among his grapes, watching his people driving 
them in chariots to the vintage houses, and passing them 
through the presses till the vintagers were dyed purple 
from head to foot. And all the time there was laughing 
and great merriment. 

" But when I told Sefior Valtierra that his daughter 
would remain for the night at our poor house, promising 
that I would guard her well, and bring her back the next 
day, instead of being angered he laughed aloud. 

" ' Guard her safe ! ' he cried, clapping his hand re- 
peatedly on his thigh. ' I'll wager she is safe, if that 
sister of yours — the Seiiorita Cyrilla, I mean — has her 
under her care. God forbid that I should be the man to 
bring into those eyes of hers the black anger-flash. They 
wouM be more deadly than any knife of Albacete ! Indeed, 
such a man might chance to get the knife in him too. 

2 A 


I tell you she is any man's full handling — that maid of 
yours ! ' Then he added, ' What may you be going to do 
with her afterwards, Senor Toro?' 

** For he is ever polite and of good manners to high and 
low alike, our noble Don Jose. 

"So I answered him truly that I had not yet decided. 
At which he laughed again. 

" * My friend,' he said, ' I would hz in no hurry to 

decide, if I were you! Why, that Senorita Cyrilla can 

set up my monkey Juana against her own father. And 

between them they get what they want. I would not give 

one poor brown Perro Chico (half-penny) for your chances 

ot managing her — who are only a brother at the best ! ' 

" * She affirms that she is going to be a 

nun,' said I. * She has even chosen her 
Encarnacion , 


" ' What is it ? ' said he, with a twinkle in his eye. 

" * Sister Encarnacion,' I answered him simply ; for I 
did not approve of even Don Jose, my good master, 
laughing at my sister, my father's daughter, 

** But I think he saw my feeling, and checked himself — 
though doubtless on the borders of a great shout of 

*' I know,' he said, soberly enough, ' my monkey told 
me a week ago that she was going to be a nun too ! And 
her name is — what think you — Sister Candida ! ' 

'* But he laughed at that heartily enough, the girl being 
his own daughter. 

** * Candida, indeed, and Sister of Innocence — that is 
very well,' he continued. * I hope I am a good enough 
Christian. But the priests are not going to get the money 
I have worked for, through my daughter — except, that is, 
enough to pay for some few masses on behoof of my poor 
soul. No, no — Juana is a good girl. She shall marry 


Arturo Bringo when the time comes. And then, before I 
am too old to take pleasure in it, I shall hold my grand- 
children upon my knee. For, after all, child-bearing and 
child-rearing are the best of all sisterdoms of mercy and 
good works — at least, when there is but one girl in a home 
— as in yours and mine.' 

'' And, if you will believe it, the very next morning, 
Don Jose Lopez Valtierra rode over himself to bring back 
his daughter, a herdsman with a saddled mule following 
behind him. Also he was more carefully dressed than 
usual. And it was a great honour to us — in vintage time 
and all ! 

" Not that Cyrilla was grateful ! Not a whit. Nay, as 
soon as he came in sight, she came hastily over to me and 
said, ' Remember that you are not to kiss his hand ! ' 

" For that was the custom which our mother had 
brought with her from Sardinia. And then I rebuked 
Cyrilla, telling her that she was no more than the sister of 
one poor man, the daughter of another — and him dead ! 

** 'Well,' she said, 'if you go kissing Senor Valtierra's 
hand just because he chooses to come gallanting over here 
on his big horse — I declare I will throw a lump of mud at 
him from behind the cow-sheds ! Now, remember, Miguel, 
I shall keep my word, and I am a good shot ! ' 

"Aye, and she would have done the thing too. For 
she was never one of the submissive sort. But rather 
took men with daring and that defiance which provokes. 
Such, in the good days as in the bad, was Cyrilla, my 

" Yet when Don Jose Lopez came into the yard of our 
little farm, what did this madcap Cyrilla do but pretend to 
kneel and kiss his hand mockingly ! And the great, big, 
full-a^ed man, mounted on a horse that looked as noble as 



himself, blushed and would have whipped his fingers 
behind him, like a child taken in a fault. Whereat Cyrilla 
laughed like bells in a peal. The very syllables of her 
name as she pronounced them (mocking me, when I cried 

out shame upon her), 
seemed to sound a ca- 
rillon of scorn. 

'"Cyrilla! Cyrilla!! 
Cyrilla!!!" she 

mimicked, picking up her 
skirt a little and dancing out 
at me provokingly, as in the 
balanced cadences of Andalusia. Where the witch had 
learned such things I do not know. But at any rate, 
she played them off rarely upon my master, and I 
think partly — for she was of those who spared nobody, 
even for the benefit of me, her brother. She wished, I 
think, to show me how far she had grown beyond my 
control. But, indeed, I never made any mistake as to 
that. I knew it from that first time when she rolled up 
her sleeves over the baking dish, all to make a fool of 


poor Adan Blasco, with his burring speech, and the great 
hands that could have slain a man, but which you could 
see trembling when he picked up Cyrilla's glove from the 
ground ! 

" That was the beginning, so far at least as our poor 
little house — that had been sufficient for my father and 
for my mother — was concerned. But it was not the end. 

" Such a vintaging and such an after-vintage time as 
we had that year with Cyrilla at home, have I never seen. 
Aye, and it was gladsome also. 1 think I was never so 
happy. Though, being as it were, Cyrilla's brother and 
her mother and all, I was anxious too. But yet, the very 
danger was sweet — for me that could never know it, to 
see them all bowing down before Cyrilla, and admiring her 
ways, and worshipping her beauty. 

" For the time being, I think I never felt the weight oi 
— This — the Burden that God has bound between my 
shoulders. But I always knew that it could not last. It 
was too good to last — too sweet a lot for — [here he 
laughed painfully] for * The Devil among the Stones !' 

" That was the season when Cyrilla bloomed suddenly 
like the opening of a scarlet pomegranate flower. And 
when, at last, having been schooled with Don Jose's Juana, 
she returned finally again to the mountains, the like of her 
had never been seen — no, nor ever will be again. And 
she knew it — ah, if she had not known it ! But indeed 
she knew it well. 

*' For one thing, there was poor Adan Blasco always at 
hand to try her tricks upon. When the days were fine 
she would go and sit by the wayside with 
a book, or making believe to knit. I have w/'+^v. 

watched her often from behind my horses. 
She would choose a place far away from his proper 
pasturage. And all for what ? That she might see him 


work his flock round the hill and round again, always 
edging the sheep nearer, till, with snap of finger and click 
of tongue to his dogs, he had brought them nigh to the 
place where sat our Cyrilla. Then, as like as not, when 
he was within the matter of fifty yards or so, Cyrilla would 
gather up her wool-cards and sewing-things, or as it might 
be her papers and books — making no haste, but rather as 
if she had never once seen poor Adan — and so she would 
betake herself demurely back to the house, her eyes upon 
the ground. 

" Then the flock, left without their master's care, would 
be seen straying along the wayside, or nosing and 
shouldering down the hot slats and stones of the bridle- 
paths. For Adan was far behind, walking as in the Valley 
of the Shadow, absorbed in the thought of that beautiful, 
cruel Cyrilla. 

" So much so that it became a jest — indeed, an excellent 
jest, at which the very children of the village would cry 
aloud : * Yonder goes Adan's flock up the waterside — but 
where is Adan ? Let us ask of Cyrilla Toro ! ' 

''Sometimes, again, she would speak kindly to him, 
asking him for his umbrella, or for his capa to sit upon. 
Or she would stand and talk, and then flash out her eyes 
upon him suddenly, till many of the neighbours thought she 
would end by driving the poor fellow fairly distract, or even 
to suicide. But this she never did — Adan being preserved 
from that by a certain health of digestion. Only one 
morning, having been afield all night (I suppose deep in 
his thoughts of Cyrilla, or perhaps suffering from moon- 
stroke) he brought his flocks back home through the 
village gate at six of the clock on a brave May morning. 
And so the laughter spread from valley to valley, and with it 
the fame of Cyrilla, the sister of Miguel Toro, the hunch- 
back, the jorobado ! 



" Yes, doubtless it was cruel. But, you see, the girl 
had no desire to marry, nor, indeed, vocation therefor, 
declaring always that she would never be any man's slave 
— * that is,' she would add, with her arms thrown about my 
neck, ' except the loving servant of this dearest Miguel 
here, who is all the world to me ! ' 

" She would say this, I remember now, most often 
when Don Jose came over to see us. For after she had 
returned to our farm, Cyrilla would go no more back to 


her benefactor's great house — no, not though Juana cried 
her eyes red, and her father, the Senor Valtierra, would 
ask and ask again. She would not leave me alone, she 
said — her one brother — her poor darling — her beloved 
Miguel ! 

" And to go beyond the village church she would not 
be coaxed — though, indeed, our farm, little more than a 
common mas of the country, a rough hand-to-mouth, 
was indeed no place for the abiding of a girl like Cyrilla. 
But work — oh yes, she worked ! Indeed, there were few 
who could work like her. But, of course, I did not permit 
her to do any of the hnrd out-of-door work, that I could 



help. But always when the men came far and near to 
see me — yes, of course, to see me, poor Miguel Toro 
(who else ?), Cyrilla would be busy at the baking-dish, 
with her sleeves rolled elbow-high, or mayhap carry- 
ing water from the well along the edges of the vintage 


" She looked best so. And — she would rest a moment, 
pushing back her hair, being tired — for no maiden could 
be so gracefully out of breath as our little Cyrilla. I call 
her little, though she was taller than I — indeed, well made 
and of a shape full and perfect from nape to ankle. 

" * Flirt ' — that is what you would call her ? No, Sefior, 
I think not so. We in Spain have not the word — nor, as 
you explain it, have we the thing either. That is for 
cities, and places where people have nothing to do — and 
much time to do it in. And our little Cyrilla meant no 
evil. Moreover, I think that she could not have helped it 



if she had tried. Though, indeed, true it is, also — that I 
never saw her try ! 

" Of course it is now clear to me that this could not 
last. A girl in Spain, to conduct herself wisely, must be 
sage, submissive, of a douce and sensible obedience. 
But, on the other hand, our Cyrilla was none of these 

■ ; g.'*;ia^fc?j^: j^i^^M 

' >*\/^. 


things. Tempestuous rather, given to sudden angers and 
tears as sudden — to quick pretty poutings and angry 
silences, ending ever with as unreasonable and impulsive 
reconciliations. What was a man like me to do with a 
girl like that ? 

"And yet, as I think it over now — there is plenty of 
time to think in these pine forests of Senor Don Jose — 
perhaps such things made part of her charm. For she 
cared no whit more for the great than for the small. Yes, 
ever Senor Valtierra was to her of no more account than 


poor Adan, the hillside shepherd. She spoke to them 
both equally, as if they had been her hired servants — or 
rather, her dogs to come to heel at will. And, what is 
more strange than all, they both liked it. Indeed, I 
myself — but it is no need to speak of that ! I spoiled her 
— that is all. But then, so did all the world. 

" Well, at any rate, it could not last, as you know. Of 
a certainty the pitcher would go too often to the fountain. 
And so one day when the din of Carlism — real Carlism, 
that is, not this new make-believe — made all the north a 
valley of tears, sending half the women desperate for the 
loss of lovers or husbands or fathers, this our Cyrilla, 
going one day through the woods — other forests far to the 
north of those through which you bore me (here he reached 
out his hand) — found, even as you found me, a wounded 
stranger stretched out — a young man — beautiful of coun- 
tenance. And, ah, had I but known — I would have com- 
pleted the Carlists' work or ever the man had crossed the 
doorstep. It was, as I tell you, in our old house, and 
though all was rough enough, God knows, yet accom- 
modation was ampler and more fitting there. So he had 
_, ^ , Juana Valtierra's room — the one she slept 
. in when she came, or rather, in which she 

was supposed to sleep. For, girl-like, the 
two young things preferred lying together, so that they 
might whisper the best part of the night. So I have 
heard them often, sleepless myself. Yes, even I, the 
hunchback, know something of the ways of women- 
kind. For had not I Cyrilla, my sister, to teach me — a 
woman incomparable and complete ? 

" This fellow gave out, truly enough, that he was a 
wounded Carlist. He did not tell that he had been shot 
down for treason — or, at any rate, upon the suspicion of 
it — by his own people, while they were carrying him off 



to be tried by a headquarters' court-martial. However, 
being unable, or unwilling, to face it out, he endeavoured to 
escape, but a bullet overtook him, and he was left for 

"Thus, so strange are the ways of things, so exact the 
fitting of the joints of Providence, that here our proud, 
man-contemning Cyrilla, in a traitor left for dead in the 
forest, found her fate ! Ay, SeFior, and at the same time, 
even as she nursed him day by day back to life, she found 
something else too. 

" Why are girls made thus and thus — to be pitiful where 
they had better set their knives to the hilt in the Thing's 
heart, and to be hard and scornful and full of contempt, 
when the great and true — yes, like Don Jose himself, I 
need not hide it — there is no shame — or the poor and 
loyal, like Adan Blasco the shepherd, came from far to 
woo them ? Answer me that, Senor, out of your much 

" But such — say you, is some women's nature ? They 
are built with a secret spring, may-be, like a box that 
once I saw at Don Jose's, cunningly wrought. Their fate 
is that they belong in life and in death — aye, and after 
death also, I suppose — to that man who knows how to 
touch that hidden spring. 

"At least, that is how I have thought it out in the 
silence of the woods — pondering upon it many a lonely 
day while going my rounds among Senor Valtierra's 

" * Senor, what good will it do if I answer your 
question ? And his name ? Ay, you are new to Spain, 
and, happily for you yourself, know not such men. 
Indeed I am not sure this one was truly of our blood. I 
think he was rather of the French of the Midi — may-be of 


Toulouse. It was from Toulouse that the photograph 
was sent. Let that not be forgotten — also the letter that 
came with it. 

"But, since you will know, while the young man 
abode with us he called himself Don Alonso, and gave 
himself the style of the nephew of the Count of Miranda- 
Aran ! 

[Here at this point of his tale the little man lay long 
looking out among the trees, and for the first time in my 
life I saw the reason why folk, whom Miguel Toro had no 
cause to love, might call him " The Devil among the 
Stones." But shortly the look faded away, and I knew 
my friend once again.] 

" Four months and four days he abode with us," he 
continued, "this Don Alonso, if that were indeed his 
name. And though I noticed nothing, the life went 
gradually out of our Cyrilla. The glad readiness faded 
from her tongue. The spring was no more in her instep. 
She cared not to tease poor Adan, nor even to rally Don 
Jose, sitting gloomily erect on his great horse. She would 
turn away with her head down and the tear in her eye. 
Ah, I wish now that I had taken my knife and done justice 
upon the hound who lay couched within, smiling and lis- 

"What gave him the power? I know not. But one 
night she came in late, from off the despoblado, where, 
across the torrent bridge, begins a very desert of heath 
and thyme, even at our father's boundary stones. And at 
this I spoke somewhat sharply to her. She did not 
answer me — not a word, which was by no means her 
way — the way of Cyrilla Toro, my sister. 

" But in the morning, lo, she was fled — she and the 


young Carlist, 
he who called 
himself Alonso, 
the nephew of 
the Count of 
Miranda - 
Aran ! " 

Now at this 

place comes in 

the unexpected, 

the inexplicable 

— the life connection. I was 

hearing from the lips of a 

dwarf, chance-found in a grove 

of pines, the story of the 

mother of little Zaida, whom 

I had met, also by chance 

(if indeed there be such a 

thing), in the ruined house 

of Miranda-Aran. After all, 

that is the way things happen 

in life. 

What was I to do ? The little hunchback had seen 

Zaida's picture. He had held it in his hand, and I 

expected each moment the question as 

to what I knew of her father and mother. 

-/ . But it did not come. The hunchback 


seemed too much wrapped up in painful 

memories. Besides, I saw not the good any tale-telling 

would do. It could only end in the reviving of a family 

feud, if I told Miguel Tore that his sister's daughter was 




alive. I would also deprive the good Bino and Mari- 
nessia of that v^^hich v^rould be a comfort to both. I 
must betray the confidences of the Bishop, and more 
particularly those of Don Manuel Sebastian. Moreover, 
I did not see that Zaida would be happier, cooped up in 
the stone house of the forest-guard among the vines of 
Senor Valtierra, than under the care of Marinessia, and 
watched over by Manuel Sebastian and his formidable 

So, rightly or wrongly, I resolved to- listen and to be silent. 
I would, so I told m^'self, let well alone. 
But so far as knowledge went, I was cer- 
tainly fitting together very rapidly the 
pieces of a most strange puzzle. They 
had never (so I supposed) all been in 
one person's hands before. 

Meanwhile the little hunchback shaded 
his eyes with his fingers, deep in thought. 
Great indigo- 
blue humble- 
bees, boom.- 
ing and dun- 
der headed, 
drove in and 
out of the 
cana -hut, 
growing hot- 
terand cross- 
er all the 
time, perhaps 
to find that 
so large and 

K 1 o p It o 

u I ci ^ tx ci ^^g. CANE-BRAKt> 


flower held so little honey. The leaf-thatch above our heads 
crackled in the hot sun, and a supple blade or two pulled 
itself loose with a dry swishing rustle within the cane- 
brake. The wind through the woods came breathing 
down upon us, cooling, restorative, terebinthine. And 
through it all I heard the sound as of a human sob. I 
made haste to say something then. I did not wish that 
also on my hands. I had known before what is prone to 
happen when men do so. 

" Did you never hear from your sister again ? " I asked. 
" There was the photograph, was there not, and a letter ? " 

He mastered himself by an effort of will, which lasted 
for just as long as a chaffinch sings, without stopping for 

"Yes," he said, " I heard. She wrote me that she was 
married. She was living in France and very happy. 
But though I answered her, writing many times by means 
of the curd down at the village, and even by Don Jose — to 
whom I told all, saving of the picture and that one letter — 
never have I heard another word of my Cyrilla from that 
day to this ! So because of that, I know — I have long 
known — that Cyrilla is dead. She would never have left 
Miguel, her sole brother, Miguel Toro, so long without news 
of her — that is, had she been alive." 

With a kind of a gasp, I awoke as from a dream. He 
knew nothing then, after all! Nothingof that wild journey 
of vengeance — nothing of the betrayal — of the crossing of 
the winter Pyrenees — of the attempt, mad and desperate, to 
cast the blame upon thegoodBishop on hisconsecrationday, 
of little Zaida laid upon the violet of the episcopal gown 
— in especial, nothing of the " Frenchwoman's Pool " 
beside which I had seen Amparo and her companions 
wringing out the clothes, laughing merrily — and above all, 


nothing of the deathgrip of those pretty hands of Cyrilla, 
which had so often been round his neck, upon the weeds 
and stones at the Ebro bottom ! 

After all, God is very merciful, and like balm falls His 
mercy after the cruelty of man. Man, for the most part, 
does indeed try to cover up his deeds of cruelty and pain 
— but it is in a graveyard and with a spade. But when 
God says, "Ashes to ashes" there is an unearthly sweet- 
ness in the saying, like the wind among the pines. And 
flowers come up with the grass that covers the resting- 
grave of the dead. 

Of a surety He had spared these things to the poor 
man with the burden upon his back. Had it been other- 
wise, it might have been more than he could bear. 

The dwarf spoke again, after a long pause. 

" Sometimes," he continued, " it seems as if there were 
some reason why Cyrilla had not written to me. The 
fellow she fled with might after all have been speaking 
the truth. She may at this moment, while we are talk- 
ing together, be the Countess of Miranda-Aran, There 
are, I have heard, many noble Carlist families still in 
exile in France, She may not be permitted to com- 
municate with a poor hunchbacked forest-guard. She 
may " 

He broke off brusquely. 

" Senor, you have gone much about the world," he 
began in" quite another tone, as if beseeching me to speak, 
"have yoii' never in any land met with a Count of Miranda- 
Aran ? " 

It was not the question I had been dreading, but it was 
one almost as difficult to answer. 

"Yes," I said, after a slight pause, " I have met with 
a man, who in his own country had once been the bearer 

2 B 


of that title. But, when I knew him — he did not use it, 
and went under another name." 

" And what was that man like — I bid you tell me ? " 

" He was an old man of over seventy — with white hair, 
strong and erect of stature." 

" No," cried the dwarf, with a sigh, "certainly that is 
not he ! " 

Then he thought a moment. 

" Was this man married ? " he asked me, " and this 
little girl, whose picture you showed me, was she one ot 
his children ? " 

The double question, permitting a choice of answers, 
saved me, as it often does the witness in the hands of an 
unskilful cross-examiner. 

" The little maid was not of his children," I answered 
firmly, " they were all grown up, and all dwelt at home — 
the sons smugglers and herdsmen — all strong, fierce men 
of their hands — who, if ever they did a wrong would have 
stayed to answer it, face to face with any man that ever 

** Then," said the dwarf, drawing a long breath of reliet, 
*' this Alonso lied. I always believed that he did." 

That night Miguel Toro was so excited that I took it 

upon me to give him a strong dose of opium, 

which he took with the grimace of a child. 

^ Aye, and went to sleep like one too. 

Now there was a question which had been on the tip of 

my tongue all the while he was speaking of Cyrilla, and 

her going away with this young Alonso. What had Don 

Valtierra to do with the matter, and for what cause and 

by what means had he changed Cyrilla's brother from 

unsuccessful cultivator to successful forest-guard ? I 

cannot follow a trail like a Red Indian along the bare-rock 



scarps or over the dry pine-needles, but in questions 01 
motive and the human heart — well, at any rate I judged 
that there was more in this matter than met the eye — even 
an eye which had already taken in, as it were, both sides 
of the history. 

I resolved that if ever fate led me again to the neigh- 
bourhood of Toulouse I should have a few inquiries to 
make. And then, all in a moment, a light flashed upon 

Is not the Ariege the natural gate southward from 
Toulouse, and was I not going there soon ? Yes, on 
that very Day of the Republic, when, according to agree- 
ment, the Sous-Prefet would stand on a platform, high 
and lifted up, and clap his hands for the bulls to be driven 

As was to be expected after the opium, my little man 
had a headache the next day. But goat's milk hot, and — 
a certain excellent family medicine which I need not 
advertise, brought him speedily round. 

He did not again refer to his sister Cyrilla, rather 
avoiding the subject indeed — nor did he look at the packet 


of child-pictures. Nevertheless he seemed eager and 
even restless, asking often when he would be well enough 
to go about his duty. Soon he began to move round the 
house and always had the simple meals ready for me 
upon mj' return. He never embarrassed me with any 
spoken gratitude, though I knew well enough that I 
had a friend for life in the person of the little hunch- 

It happened, I think, on the fourth or fifth day after the 
tale-telling, and while Miguel, though recovered from his 
fall, was still detained indoors, that I had gone to the 
farthest corner to report, as best I could, on some trees 
that had been but recently planted, which the forest-guard 
thought might have been damaged by the drought or by 
the "evil people." 

But everything was clear, and to my eye, at least, doing 
well. I looked out on to the strip of pasturage which 
stretched southward from the forest edges. No one was 
to be seen except a solitary shepherd slowly directing his 
flock away from me, feeding as they went. He was a tall, 
determined-looking young fellow, with that weather-beaten 
air which comes to migratory folk who are here to-day and 
gone to-morrow. 

As he was the first person I had seen since the begin- 
ning of my sojourn in the hut with '' The Devil among the- 
Stones," I was eager enough to speak with him. I 
expected from the man only some mumbling patois , but 
instead he spoke Castellano beautifully and clearly. 

" You are a servant of Don Jose Lopez Valtierra ? " I 
asked of him, to open the conversation. 

" No," he made answer, " I serve another master." 

I think that I must have looked my surprise. For he 
added, with a little glint of teeth, only partially good- 
humoured, " I am within my rights here. This is one of 


the old ' mesta ' roads, and I have a right to pasture fifty 
yards on either side." 

I nodded. Whether he had or had not was nothing to 

me. So I said that I hoped he had found the most excellent 

of pasturage and a master as good as the Senor Valtierra. 

" Oh," said he, "as to that I have a better. For I am 

my own master, and come and go at my will." 

There was still something in his tone which conveyed 
the impression that he did not love Don Jose. Which was 
strange, for all that I had heard of the sheep-master had 
been more than favourable, and as for Miguel Toro, he 
would have died for him, I think. 

I went on to ask the shepherd if he found himself far 
from home. For I knew that all the land in the neigh- 
bourhood belonged to Senor Valtierra. He answered me 
like one of my northern countrymen, with the counter- 
question, " Are you, Senor, the Frenchman who has been 
dwelling with Miguel Toro these many days ? " 

I denied the nationality, but otherwise admitted the 
correctness of his information. But in rural Spain, untrod 
of " the personally conducted," all foreigners are taken for 
French citizens. 

Then all in a moment he asked a curious question, which 
at the time made me doubt his sanity. It seemed to break 
from him against his will. 

" Is it on account of his sister Cyrilla that you remain 
with Miguel Toro ? " 

" I found him lying in the forest," I answered simply. 
" He had fallen from a tree and hurt himself. I carried 
him home, and ever since I have been doing as much as 
possible of his work. I know nothing of his sister — of any 
sister of his. I understand he had one only, and that she 
is dead." 

The man's features took on a stern and severe expres- 


sion — not the soldier's battle-face — rather the more con- 
tracted look of personal animosity. 

" Ask Don Jose Valtierra as to that ! " he said. 

" So," said I as curtly, " and who, shall I 
y s ion g^^^ bade me put that question ? " 

He hesitated a moment, hanging on the 
word. And then, in a grating voice, as it were whetted 
with anger, he answered, " Tell him it was one Adan 
Blasco who bade you ask ! " 

" What, the shepherd ? " I cried, surprised out of my 

" He has been telling you," he said, looking sidelong 
at me. 

I shook my head, answering plainly that I had never 
even spoken with Don Jose. 

" Then Miguel Toro has spoken to you of his sister — 
that is, he has told you — as much as he knows ! " 

I had thought myself the only possessor of the terrible 
secret of the Frenchwoman's Pool. But here was another, 
and one too for the present the nearest neighbour ot 
Miguel Toro, who seemed clearly to intimate that he also 
was fully informed on the subject. A great fear seized 
me. He might go and tell the hunchback. And then — 
through my careless curiosity I might have brought 
trouble upon the Sebastians — my first friends in the 
country, upon Bino and his wife Marinessia, and especially 
upon little Zaida. So, scarcely knowing what to say, I 
parleyed with the shepherd. 

" Miguel Toro has not yet recovered," I said ; " he is in 
great need of quiet. If you know anything sad about his 
sister, I pray you do not tell him. He is more happy as 
he is, and " 

" Do not be afraid," the shepherd said bitterly ; 



"nothing that I might have to tell him shall ever pass my 
lips. The taste is not so pleasant in the mouth that I 
should go about asking this one and that to share the 
morsel with me." 

A thought struck me. This man Blasco was a wanderer, 
though only, of course, along certain well-defined lines of 
"drove" road, where his flocks had rights of pasture — if 
not now by law, at least by ancient custom and prescrip- 
tion. It was possible that he also knew of Miranda- Aran, 
and of the little girl who had been a guest with Andres 
and his wife. Yet I did not see how to ask the question 
without setting him on a possible trail — if, as was very 
possible, he knew nothing of Zaida. 

At last it came to me to ask concerning something, 
which of a certainty he must know. 

"You have met this Don Alonso of Miranda-Aran ? " 
I asked him. 

I had expected to meet again the fierce look, but instead 
there was only a bitter sneer. 

"Alonso of Miranda-Aran — pah—\ " he cried. " I see 
you have heard the story and also that you know my 
name. But if you would hear more of Cyrilla Toro, ask 
your information of Sefior Don Jose Lopez Valtierra !" 

And with these words very deliberately he turned his 
back upon me, and with his dog at his heels drove his 
flock on down the road. I watched him in the glimmer of 
the evening light till his figure was lost among the 
willows by the water- courses, which Senor Valtierra had 
made to keep away the torrents from his pines. I watched 
till the slow padding sheep were indistinguishable, from 
the rough stones by the wayside. But Adan Blasco, the 
shepherd, the lover of Cyrilla, never once turned to look 
at me as 1 watched him out of sight. 


That evening when I reported to the Httle forest-guard 
concerning the trees along the edges of the campo, it may 
well be understood that I said nothing of my meeting 
with the shepherd, or concerning the purport of his dis- 
course. Yet, so strange a thing is the consciousness of a 
secret, that it seemed to me as though Miguel watched 
me more carefully than usual that night. So for some- 
thing to do, I took my camera to pieces, lenses and all, 
and showed him the fitting of the parts, explaining their 
uses as to an intelligent listener. 

Whether Miguel watched me or the camera I do not 

know, or whether he had other thoughts in his head than 

those which concerned the young trees by 

the old campo road. At any rate no more ^ , ^ 

.J , \ . ^ .,, Rencontre 

was said between us concernmg Cyrilla. 

We got us to bed — I on my couch of juniper and heather, 
drawing about me the coverlets, old and clean, which had 
belonged to Cyrilla's mother. True, I did not sleep very 
much, but, through the great black gap of the window, 
open to the sky as in an observatory, I lay and watched 
Orion slowly trail his complicated splendours across the blue- 
black square. Then lo ! star after star — I could see them 
processing in his wake, just missing Sirius, till through the 
opposite wall-chinks there struck in the first faint streaks 
of dawn. 

Then I went out among the pines, while it was yet very 
early — earlier indeed than I had ever set out upon my 
rounds. Perhaps it was some cm ious expectation of seeing 
once more the shepherd Adan that sent me in the same direc- 
tion as on the night before. It was a longish walk, and I 
had to push through the dew-wet underbrush of the young 
wood, till not only were my alpargatas soaking, but my 
trousers, also, high above the knee. However, as soon as 
the sun would rise, I knew well that that would matter little. 


I had stolen out with caution, and Miguel had not 
stirred. The dawn arose flecked and wispy out of the 
east — pale lilac mostly and delicate straw-coloured gold. 
I stood on the edge of the wood and looked pensively 
over the late pastures. Stubble alone showed where the 
crops had stood, leaving behind them the marks of the 
reaping-hook and the bleached stances of the stook 

Here I stood and watched the sun rise swiftly from 
behind the great rock bastion against which our forest of 
pines was tilted. Its shadow jutted out suddenly west- 
ward along the plain and winding road — then slowly 
began to shorten in again as the morning heightened. 

Entranced I stood, my little axe in my hand, the ladder 
leaning against my shoulder, collecting tools and pots on 
my back, looking down across the brightening plain. 

" Ola^ Sefior f there cried, so suddenly that I started, 
a voice I had never heard before — a voice at once hearty 
and heartsome, with something in it good to hear, " have 
I gotten me a new forest-guard without knowing it ? Or 
are you, by chance, one of Miguel's ' bad people ' ? " 

I turned, and there, quite near me, his horse's feet on 
the elastic carpet of pine needles, himself tall against the 
dusky aisles of the forest, was a horseman, with the 
master-look writ large upon his face. There was also a 
cheerful breeziness which set well upon him. The broad 
white brow somehow inspired confidence. The slightly 
grizzled hair told of one who had sometime passed his 
first youth. But the tall stature and the erect carriage, 
as well as the ease and grace with which he sat his horse, 
told of the man of sane natural life, of outdoor habits, the 
man who had been all his days accustomed to say to this 
man " Come," and to that " Go " — and to see to it that 
this man and that came and went accordingly. 


The visitor appeared behind me so unexpectedly that, 
though I knew he could be no other than Senor Valtierra, 
I found myself struggling to answer his questions, without 
having had the time to prepare a sentence in a foreign 
tongue. Seeing my difficulty, and possibly also the 
innocence of my intentions, the tall man laughed, and 
asked, in excellent French, as to the health of Miguel 
Toro, his forest-guard. 

I told him of the accident and of my work for the last 

"Why, then," said he, laughing, "instead of warning 
you off my property as a poacher, I doubt that 1 am some- 
what in your debt ! " 

** On the contrary," said I, " that is a matter between 
Miguel and myself." 

And then, almost like the opening of flood-gates, one of 
those strange inexplicable impulses which often change 
the lives of men and women, came over me. I had 
resolved to be reticent. Who was I that I should meddle 
in other folk's business ? I was wholly without rights in 
the matter. So much was perfectly evident. Yet, for the 
life of me, I could not resist the impulse to speak. 

"Senor Valtierra," I said, "I have a message for you. 
Have I your permission to put a question ? A man yester- 
even bade me ask it of you." 

A shade passed across the broad brow, 
which might have been surprise, but might ^ 
also have very well been some anger at the uncalled-for 
intrusion of a stranger. 

" I pray your pardon, Senor," I went on, "if in anything 
I take too much upon myself But I assure you there are 
reasons " 

" Who was the man ? " he interrupted brusquely. 

" The shepherd, Adan Blasco," said I, with equal brevity. 


" And the question ? " 

" He bade me ask," said I, looking directly at him, 
" what you know about Cyrilla, the sister of Miguel Toro, 
the hunchback ? " 

Now a stranger speaking a new language cannot choose 
his words. He has to take those he knows, a thing which, 
though it often causes his speech to sound abrupt, yet gives 
him also a certain advantage of directness. Senor Valtierra 
was visibly troubled. His hand gripped the reins, and 
the sensitive beast he was riding tossed its head and 
shook out its mane in sympathy with its master's agita- 

" By what right, Senor, do you ask that ? " he cried, 

" It is the question of Adan, the shepherd — not mine," 
said I. 

"But what may be your interest in the matter?" he 
demanded — with, I admit, much justice. 

" First of all, because I have nursed her brother for 
fourteen days," I answered. '' He has told me all. And, 
besides, I' know the child of Cyrilla Toro. Look ! " 

And I held out the photograph which I had taken of 
little Zaida at El Seo. 

As he took it from my hand ihe strangest range of 
expression passed rapidly over the strong man's face — 
first a kind of fear, then doubt, then a hopeful anticipa- 
tion, last of all, something approaching to violent emotion. 

*• Mon Dieu ! " he cried, " where did you get this — the 
eyes — the very eyes look out at me ! " 

'* I myself took it," I said. " It is the picture of a little 
girl — as I told you, the daughter of Cyrilla Toro." 

" Where — where — where ? " he gasped, holding the 
poor brown paper- covered photograph in one shaking hand 


and reaching out the other as if to wring the secret 
from me. 

" First of all, you will inform me as to your right to 
ask, " I said — for it was my turn now. 

" I will assure you fully on that point — I swear it ! " he 
said, "only tell me. You must tell me all — all ! " 

I thought a moment. As things were, I had no right 
to tell him anything. There were the Sebastians, the 
Bishop, Zaida herself, to be considered. There was also 
the hunchback. 

Valtierra saw the uncertainty struggling in my face. 

" I will show you good reason," he said, " the best of 

all reasons — that is, if only you will come with me. 

Meanwhile, we will send some one to care _, 

The occfct 
for Miguel and to do his work. It were r 7 • j 

better that he should know nothing — for the 

present. Afterwards — in time — but of that you shall be 

the judge." 

He held Zaida's picture in one hand, almost with the 
gesture of the Bishop in the garden of La Delicia — first 
near his eyes, and then far ofF. 

" May I keep this ? " he said. And without even waiting 
for an answer he pulled out his pocket-book and stowed it 
safely away among many papers. 

Then he dismounted, and, without another word spoken 
to each other, we walked soberly back to the little house 
of stone where I had left Miguel the hunchback. He 
hobbled out to meet us at the sound of the horse's feet on 
the rocks. 

** My master — oh, my dear master ! " he cried. And 
bending down he took Don Jose's hand and kissed it 
repeatedly. But to me it seemed that Senor Valtierra 
drew it away somewhat quickly, as if he were ashamed 
that such a thing should happen under my eyes, 


Entering the room he looked about as if he missed 
something. And by instinct I knew that he was looking 
for the portrait of Cyrilla Toro, which her brother turned 
every night with its face to the wall. Then his hand stole 
slowly up till it rested on the breast-pocket where he had 
hidden ihe picture of little Zaida — the picture from 
which he had seen her mother's eyes look out at him. 

Then I knew that at last the secret of Zaida and ol 
Zaida's mother was very close to me. 



Four days Don Jose Valtierra abode among his pines. 

He had great reason to wish that we were once more well 

on our way, and I could see that he was 

nervously excited all the time. But he was ^}^^ Sadness 
J * . , ^u • o ~ of Miguel the 

a strong, determined man, this benor ,, , , 
_- , . . , , Hunchback 

Valtierra — open ot countenance, large and 

generous of heart, and evidently, to look at him, a cast- 
back upon that Gothic type which once filled the Spanish 
North and gave permanence to its best characteristics. 

Besides, there was Miguel Toro to be thought of — and 
Don Jose thought of every one. Miguel was desolated to 
be left again alone. Even the promise that I should 
before long return, and his master's offer to build him a 
new house during the winter on the site of the old, failed 
to arouse him from his melancholy. I think that, perhaps, 
the result of the injury to his head had not quite passed 
away. For the little hunchback's most fixed idea was that 
I should remain in permanence by his fireside and help him 
with his pine plantations for the term of my natural life. 

The new house, however, he would hear nothing of. 
He held by the old. It was **^ood enough for him," 


That was his unfaih'ng retort. He had nothing to live 
for now ; and when the Englishman, his friend, had 
forsaken him — why, what was there left but that he 
should go back, as of old, to " gnawing the cud of his 
silence " ? 

He had words, this poor Miguel the hunchback. 

But a brand-new, French-made stove all the way from 
Zaragoza on which to do his cooking (suggested by me) 
and window-frames containing real glass, which could be 
taken in and out according to the weather, to some 
extent promised to divert his mind from his troubles 
during the dreary months of winter. At any rate, he 
would not be left entirely to "gnaw the cud of his 

" For I promise you," said Don Jose, " that I will send my 
own carpenter Raphael from the valley farm — a lazy dog, 
whom you must keep stifQy to his work. For of a surety, 
if I am not here to lay a whip to his back, the rascal will 
not work. Let me think — y^s, I have it, I shall leave you 
a packet of postcards, and you will tell me every day or 
two how Raphael is working. And since you cannot 
write and he can, let it be convened between us that 
when Raphael works well there shall be an ' X ' drawn 
upon the back, but if he is lazy, then instead the post- 
card shall bear an ' O.' " 

By this call upon his mental faculties the little hunch- 
back seemed somewhat relieved, and put away the packet 
in a drawer with an air of obvious importance. 

As we went out, Don Jose said to me in French, "And 
that will also tell us that Miguel remains where he is in 
the meantime — whether that pig Raphael works well or 

Clear and crisp as an English after-harvest day or a 


sunny morning in the Scouish " back-end " was tiie early 

hour when we rode away from the abode 

of the " Devil among the Stones." 

. T away 

The year was closing in. Not that that 

makes much difference in Spain, except among the 

mountains and in the extreme north. But then we were 

in the north, where, save in the kitchen, even in the 

greatest houses there are no fireplaces, and those few 

generally bricked up with care to prevent draughts I 

The little hunchback came with us to the edge of the 
pines ; but he could hardly bid us adieu for falling tears. 

" My heart is full ! — My heart is full ! " he repeated. 
" Do not forget it, my master and my friend ! But there 
is a promise — you will come back ? — yes, with the new 
year and the opening weather ! You will come back, both 
of you ! And then you will see the French stove from 
Zaragoza with the three olla pots all simmering upon it 
at one time. Ah, that Cyrilla had been here to busy 
herself about them ! You have not forgotten Cyrilla, my 
master? " 

And Don Jose, shaking his head gravely, laid his hand 
upon Miguel's shoulder and told the little hunchback that 
he, Jose Lopez Valtierra, would forget the Senorita 
Cyrilla only when they laid him with his silent kin under 
the yew-trees in Old Castile. 

"And that reminds me — " said the hunchback; " it is 
pitiable — yes, terrible, with the Day of All the Saints, the 
Feast of the Dead so near — that we cannot even go and 
lay a wreath upon her grave, you and I, Don Jose — we 
who have loved her with a long love ! It is denied us ! 
We know not the place of her sepulture ! " 

And Don Jose lifted his hat from his head as if in 

" No," he said, gently patting the arm of the forest- 


guard, " it is true. We know not the place — neither you 
nor I ! " 

Zaragoza lies high, and the winds blow cold there. It 

is out of the shelter of the Pyrenees, and no kindly pine- 

woods circle it about. The sun, blazing hot 

., \.T ., long before noon, takes an appreciable time 
the North • , , , c c. •. • 

to vanquish the hoar-frost, even after it rises 

in the morning. If anywhere the capa is welcome, of a 

surety it is there ; and on the morning of Todos los 

Santos (called the Feast of Tosants) Don Jose and I were 

glad to come in sight of the beautiful bridge and see the 

glancing city roofs, with the hope of finding ourselves 

once more in a Christian house before the hour was over. 

But I had my camera strapped behind me, and the 
famous cathedral was glittering multi-coloured in the 
light of the morning, its Oriental pinnacles all busked out 
with tiles shining gay and rainbow-like in the sun. A 
few loafers with flat blue Basque caps on their heads 
obtruded themselves promptly in front of the lens, as if 
they were as worthy of being immortalised upon the 
excellent Edwards' isochromatic film as El Pilar itself. 
I had much ado to prevent Don Jose from ordering them 
to Jericho or (alternatively) riding them down, much as a 
knight might have cleared off the rabble who gathered 
about the tournament palisades. 

We entered the capital city of the North on the greatest 
day of all the year. All Saints' Day is little more than a 
name in England — not even so much as that in Scotland. 
But in Spain — upon that day the whole world goes forth to 
adorn the graves of the family dead. And all is done 
with a gentleness and sweet sorrow, a unanimity of senti- 
ment that to me is infinitely touching. 

Even in France there is something of it left, though 



not so much. In cynical Paris it is the sole religious func- 
tion of the year. Thirty years of republican institutions 
and anti-clerical crusade have submerged the Christian 
religion as an interest for men — all, that is, 
but the Cult of the Dead. Christianity 
itself is hardly even worth talking about, 
since Kenan is not there to do the talking. The Church 

The Cult of 
the Dead 


has become mere political capital in every village and 
every commune. Certainly all French families are divided, 
for or against the Altar. But even so, religion is only a 
political bone of contention — a weapon for use along 
with others, such as colonisation, the frontier fortresses, 
submarine boats, the National Debt, and so forth, either 


to insult or to defend the existing Government. For 
the rest, reh'gion is left to the women and the priests. 

But once a year, the day of "All the Saints" draws 
forth, to stand uncovered before the Graves of the Dead, 
socialist deputy and militant anti-clerical, nationalist 
and Dreyfusard elbow to elbow, majority and minority 
alike — a strange sight to see at Montparnasse and Pere la 

But to Spain must you go to see the true inwardness of 
the Feast of the Dead. A little whirl of leaves accom- 
panied us along the bridge as we rode into the town, and 
even chased us when we turned down a riverside embank- 
ment, where the onions were hanging over the wall literally 
by tons. It was not yet ten o'clock, but the streets of the 
city were already thronged with people, for the most part 
scrupulously clad in mourning. They were issuing out 
of churches with little black prayer-books clasped in their 
right hands. They were entering in a solid stream the 
great cathedral of El Pilar, which we kept on our left as 
we took our way quietly towards the dwelling of Don 

" In the summer," said my host, " I often go to Vichy 
to drink the waters, and also because things are gayer in 
France. But in spring and winter I live mostly in 
Zaragoza, because from there I can the more easily visit 
my various properties — farms, mines, and forests." 

During our journey Don Jose had said nothing what- 
ever about the picture of Zaida, nor had I so much as 
seen it, though I knew that he carried it in his pocket- 
book. Neither had the name of the hunchback's sister 
crossed his lips. He had been silent upon all that con- 
cerned the momentous question of the shepherd Adan, 
"What do yon know of Cyrilla Toro ? " Yet, for all 
that, there had been nothing of the nervous anxiety of 


innocence trying to clear itself, still less of the equally 
obvious defiant ease of guilt hiding its ostrich head, about 
Senor Valtierra. 

It was easy to be seen that he was a man familiar with 
affairs — wondrously exact and businesslike for a great 
Spanish proprietor. He had promised me a certain 
explanation. In due time he would give it, just as at the 
appointed time he would be prepared to meet his other 
obligations, financial and commercial. 

I cannot help saying here that I admired him more and 
more. He was cloaked and booted and spurred like a 
true Caballero. Indeed, master and gentle- 
man were written all over him. He was ^ ,, 

mounted on a magnificent steed. On the 
contrary I had beneath me only a stout and very ugly 
hired mule with a back like an arm-chair, and the 
Aragonese saddle on which I sat was the very chair itself, 
equipped with stirrups as large as salt-boxes. Then I 
still wore alpargatas — though now with socks of various 
colours drawn over them for warmth's sake. My hat 
possessed no brim, but in revenge was effectively ventilated 
by a tear in the top, provisionally mended inside with 
green oiled silk from my little medicine-case. My coat 
had once been well cut, but now hung about me in rags 
of tatters. I still wore hragas of white linen — alas ! too 
short and only to be denominated white, as it were, by 
courtesy, and for the sake of old times. Draped about 
my shoulders was a striped horse-cloth after the manner 
of Sitting Bull or any other untamed savage of the West 
— whom, indeed, with my hair, long unbarbered, escaping 
through the top of my hat, I must somewhat have resembled. 

The magnates of the city saluted my companion and he 
saluted them, talking all the time to me as to an intimate 
friend, and including me in any chance conversations with 


an infinite grace. There is no man in this world who 
can outdo an honourable Spanish gentleman, even of this 
present year of grace, in that courtesy which is his by 
race, by self-respect, by goodwill, and by that heart which 
is as gracious to the poor as to the rich. Such a man 
may refuse a beggar (though he seldom does), or he may 
send a murderer to the garrotte, if such be his duty. But 
he will do these things feelingly, humanely, with some- 
thing of the ancient Christian humility of, " There goes 
Richard Baxter — hut for the grace of God! " 

Naturally, however, Don Jose was more comfortable 
than I. It seemed as if I must be taking away his character 
every moment in the eyes of his townsfolk. Suddenly it 
occurred to me — I note it because matters connected with 
clothing rarely do so occur — that there ought to be a 
small leathern trunk of mine in the custody of a certain 
banker of the city. Upon inquiry of Don Jose he said 
that the Bank would, of course, be shut on All Saints' 
Day, but that the manager, a Frenchman, was a personal 
friend of his, and that anything I wanted of him could be 
effected — probably at once. 

" Because, being a Frenchman, and knowing no better," 
said Don Jose, smiling, "he does not lie long abed of a 

Good Monsieur Emile Fabre turned out to be a man of 
fifty, wearing a tufted beard, and with the comfortable, some- 
what pursy aspect about him of one securely beneficed for 
life. But he was bald, amiable, accessible — and so, 
happily, was my trunk. The banker was willing also to 
let me have some money on Don Jose's introduction, 
though my appearance did not at all tally with the 
description which had been sent from Paris along with 
my letter of credit. 

" Never mind," said I, *• wait till to-morrow. I have 



been long in the wilds, and if everything is in the box that 
I expect, I hope by that time not so greatly to disgrace 
my honourable introducer ! " 

'* Our seals are intact upon the box," said M. Fabre 
with a touch of severity ; "I am sure you will find all 
within of an exactitude ! " 

I wished to knock up a barber on the way, to have my 
hair cut, as we went through the city. But Don Jose, who 
evidently could wait no longer, either for his home wel- 
come or for his correspondence, said that there was no 
need. He could summon a coiffeur in a few minutes to do 
that which might be requisite in my own room. Our 
horses, he said, had need to be put in stable — which, 
indeed, was very evidently true of my arm-chair son-of-a- 
he-ass, for it had been fit for nothing else ever since we 
left the //Tirtfl'ifJ's of Miguel Toro. 

We came at last to Don Jose Valtierra's house, plea- 
santly retired in a wide and silent square, the centre of 
which was planted with trees. High walls, in which was 
a railed gate of gilded iron, contained the front garden. 
The window-shutters were open to let in the sun and air, 
a practice which in the North of Spain is not considered 
so conclusive a proof of lunacy as it is in the smaller towns 
of the South of France. 

There was also to the right an entrance for carriages. 
So, unlatching this with his own hands, Don Jose led his 
horse within a small courtyard, while I followed with my 
unspeakable mule, scraping and plantigrading along the 
causeway like a furniture van. 

A smartly dressed groom, or general servant — smart at 
least as to his nether person, ran out to meet Don Jos6, 
seemingly considerably surprised at seeing him. He 
began a copious explanation as to how he had been caught 
napping, but his master cut him short. 


" Is the Senora within ? " he said. 

" No," answered the man, " I do not think so. Not 
expecting you, I know that it was the Senora's intention to 
take Benita, and go out to hear the Great Mass sung in 
El Pilar. But wait, in a moment I will advertise you !" 

*' Do not," said Don Jose, " there is a porter following 
from the Bank with a trunk. When it arrives, take it up 
to this gentleman's bedroom — the white room over the 
garden — and after that send for a barber." 

The servant, to whom his master generally referred, 

after his jovial fashion, as Don Picaro, or Sir Rascal, 

seemed no little surprised that Don Jose 

should introduce such a scarecrow as myself ^. 

i icaro 
into his house. Afterwards he told me that 

he quite understood — as soon, that is, as he knew I was 

an Englishman. He had often been in France with his 

master, and had heard many speak of the " mad English.'' 

But at first it was decidedly embarrassing, for Tomasillo 
(which was the more ordinary designation of Don Jose's 
servant) looked carefully round my chamber to see that 
nothing of value had been left lying about. I had expected 
to go to an hotel, and indeed would have preferred it, for 
it is but seldom in the cities that a Spaniard will invite 
you into his own house. In the country it is, of course, 
another thing. I have lived for months at a time as the 
guest of the great sheep-masters of Leon, passing from 
house to house and from farm to farm, my only care and 
occupation being how most fitly to remunerate my generous 

And it was of such a stock that Don Jose came. He 
had simply transferred the hearty hospitalities of a thinly- 
peopled, well-to-do country to the city in which he made 
his winter home. 

With his own hands he brought me a bath, and with his 


own hands he filled it. I had got the length of luxuriating 
in the huge rough towel when the barber was announced. 
With him came Sir Rascal, that most respectable man, 
who, having the key of my trunk supplied him, laid out, 
shook out, dusted out, and brushed out its various con- 
tents, his jaw falling lower with astonishment as each layer 
of respectability was reached. 

While the silent barber — he held of Zaragoza, not of 
Seville — was doing his work, and while Sir Rascal 
descended to bring up a selection of proper Spanish hats 
(of fine soft felt such as is not now worn in England), I 
bethought me of Don Jose's question to his servant in the 

Could it be that Seiior Valtierra was again married ? 
Miguel the Hunchback had said nothing of that. I felt 
sure that he would not have kept silence if he had known. 
Perhaps the word Senora might designate Don Jose's 
mother? Or Juana, his daughter, might have been 
married, and returned to her father's roof a widow, and 
with the title of Senora. For the moment I could not 
solve the puzzle. But as I dressed a tabernacle, no longer 
quite so vile, in the best of undergear and overgear, I 
resolved that life was worth living — if it were only for the 
number of things one has yet to find out. 

When I issued forth, leaving the contents of the trunk, 
as if stirred with a long pole, strewed about the room, I 
was pleased to observe that Don Picaro was thoroughly 
astonished by my appearance. I was, so he informed Senor 
Valtierra, of a correction to go forth, even with his master, 
on the great day of Tosants. But Don Josd was so care- 
less, and he had feared . 

He did not venture to state what he feared, but I judge 
it to have been my torn white trousers and the tufts of 
hair sticking Indian-fashion through the crown of my hat 


without a brim. For Don Picaro had the greatest care 
of his master's respectabiUty, always dressing, when on 
duty, Hke an undertaker himself — except, as it might be, 
when it was his night off, and he was going to a ball. On 
which occasions he favoured the company with a striped 
waistcoat and a red sash about his waist. 

Midway down the stairs I met Don Jose. 

" We will have something to eat first," he said. " It is 
possible that the Senora may not return, but rather stay 
with one of her friends to lunch after the Misa Mayor, 
before going out to the cemetery." 

I think, however, that he made haste. There was no 
ceremony at table. Tomasillo (who was of a truth no 
rascal, though his master affectionately called him one) 
waited gracefully and silently — that is, as a rule, for once 
or twice he was tempted into joining in the conversation, 
which he did without servility and with the true Spanish 
self-respect. His master might call him Don Picaro, if he 
liked — but it was easy to see that he held himself the 
equal of any other person whatsoever. 

We set out along the street, which was now busier than 
before. For me I was feeling quite miserable, being attired 
with that infinite raspy respectability which seems all buck- 
ram and swaddling-bands after the free airs that had visited 
my skin upon the campo and in the forest, entering by the 
wide bottoms of my linen bragas and coming out (with the 
perfection of scientific ventilation) by the hole in my hat. 
To the sorrows which afflict just and unjust, I think the 
wise Singer of Songs might very judiciously have added 
the affliction of new clothes, of hairy 

clothes, of clothes which you have to fit \, ^^ ° 

instead of their fitting you, clothes that _ 

' , . Garments 

have a spite against your chin, that grip 

you where you breathe, and fail to touch where you have 


been accustomed to wear a belt about you, or, better still, 
the silken sash of Cataluna. Anathema Maranatha ! 

If the demure and modest reader will skip her eyes 
over the next paragraph, I will tell the rest of the world 
what I most wanted to do at that moment. 

{Pause while the Court is being cleared.) 

Well, I wanted to scratch ! And that not in one place, 
but comprehensively, and as one determined to do an entire 
justice to the subject. To the comfortable reader the 
tragedy may not seem very terrible, but on the streets of 
a great city, in the midst of well-attired crowds, all of 
whom were at one with their underclothes, it was as bad 
as a violent desire to laugh in church. 

In the cathedral things certainly went better. For there 
at least the crowd pressed about one, and there were 
pillars — as comforting as those erected by his mythical 
Grace of Argyll for the behoof of his distressed country- 

Still all this detracted from the solemnity of the service, 
and I never knew before how far man was the creature of 
his sensations, even of the most apparently mean and 
trivial. The hard-shell Buddhist is right. There is no 
great and no little. My new clothes spoiled the very 
Misa Mayor of El Pilar for me. The ever-heightening 
thrill of the chants, the young voices ringing out, the 
older ones coming in with a solemn sonorous rumble like 
chariots jolting over the floor of heaven, the mounting 
smoky kopjes of the incense, the silver tinkle of the bell 
that sent us all to our knees — I own that they affect me 
more now, as I sit and write, than they did then. It ought 
not to have been so. But then it is written that there is 
a devil told off to attend church-services, in order to keep 



the people from benefiting by them. Sometimes he even 
mounts into the pulpit. I walked away from a church 
door once with a very celebrated preacher, after a thrilling 
display of oratory which had moved every listener. 

We walked silently awhile. I did not like to break in 
upon that solemn pause. I felt that there was still emotion 
unexpressed in his heart. At last he spoke. 

" Did you ever see a church with as many bald heads in 
it ? " he demanded suddenly. 

I then directed his attention, with some remains of his 
own earnestness, to the fate of certain who in another 
place had called out, '* Go up, Bald Head.'" We were 
passing a wood at the time, but, instead of taking warn- 
ing, he said that bears had been a long time extinct in 
our country. He even gave the date, because he had 
recently bought an encyclopaedia on the instalment plan. 

It was, indeed, with some- 
thing of the same inappro- 
priateness that the unaccus- 
tomed excellence of my clothes 
affected my spirits within the 
cathedral of El Pilar in the 
city of Zaragoza. 

Yet so 
strange is 
man, that 
as soon 
as I got 
out up- 
on the 
str ee ts 
again, the 
f e e 1 i n g 



wore off. For one thing, I found an excellent subject for 
a picture in a friend of Don Jose's — a friend who kept an 
orange-stall on the pavement. She was the widow of an 
officer who had died at his post. But with the customary 
day-after-to-morrow gratitude of the Spanish Government, 
her pension, often promised, had never yet arrived. She 
had refused all private bounty, and instead had set up a 
well-patronised stall on feast-days and Sundays near the 
cathedral porch. You could pay anything you liked for 
an orange or a handful of nuts. To well-dressed persons 
she returned no change, but instead, the widow's blessing. 
She was known to all the city, and, I fancy, did not greatly 
lose by the non-arrival of her official pension. 

" The Senora," said Don Jose, after looking about him 
a little discontentedly," is not in the cathedral. She must 
therefore have gone on to the cemetery. It is, you under- 
stand, the Great Day of the year with us. All the world 
goes. We shall assuredly find her there." 

" Are your folk buried in Zaragoza ? " I inquired of him, 
expecting only an affirmative answer. 

But his reply completely undeceived me, so that I 
showed my surprise. 

" By no means," he said ; " I hold not of Aragon, but 
of Old Castile, and my mother was a CataJana. We Val- 
tierras find sepulture in Valladolid ! " 

" Then why has Madame — the Senora, I mean ? " 

I began, but stayed myself If Don Jose could wait to 
explain, surely I could wait to hear. 

" Oh, it is the custom ! " he said, with a certain brusque- 
ness foreign to his open nature. And then, as if repent- 
ing him of having spoken thus sharply to a friend, he 
added, " But in this case the Senora has a special 

I noted it as a curious fact that even when talking 


French — which, out of consideration for a guest, he did 
habitually to me — Don Jose always spoke of La Sefiora. 

The road to the cemetery of Zaragoza was a curious 

sight that great day of the Tosants. Vehicles rushed 

uphill and down by the hundred — great omnibuses and 

drags, crowded and lurching, their drivers urging on their 

horses in order to make as many journeys as possible 

within the hour. There were also many private carriages, 

together with a few horsemen, chiefly 

officers of the army and police, or farmers , ^ ^^ , 
r *u . J u u J . , the Dead 

from the countryside, who had come in to 

see the sight. Then, surrounding and swallowing up all, 

there poured out of the city the great stream of the 

common folk on foot, all in black, and all setting their 

faces towards the Hill of the Dead. Through this turmoil 

Don Jose moved as through his own pifiadas, a good head 

and shoulders above his fellows — great, kindly-humoured, 

with the ready word and the ready smile, giving no 

offence and taking none from any man. 

Presently, at the foot of the fine Avenida de la Indepen- 
dencia, that entrance worthy of kings, he hailed a return- 
ing vehicle. 

** The Senora has the carriage," he explained, " and we 
shall doubtless come back with her. She had no idea I 
would be here in time." 

Then he added, gravely, " And, indeed, no more had I, 
when I went away ! " 

The conveyance was a huge swag-tailed waggonette — 
there were no others. And Don Jose, after mounting me 
up beside the driver, stood by the door, inviting all and 
sundry, women and children, the old or the footsore, to 
mount and ride. 

" Lazy fellows may walk afoot — as I myself should do, 


had I the time ! " he cried, " but if this lady will graciously 
do me the favour to enter, I shall be honoured ! " 

The gracious lady in question was a poor woman in 
tarnished black mourning, holding a great baby, far too 
heavy for her to be carrying in her weak thin arms. The 
waggonette was soon filled to overflowing, and many were 
the smiles from city magnates passing in their carriages at 
Senor Valtierra. For it was soon evident that the good 
sheep-and-forest-master was considered by all to be an 
original, and that his actions were commented upon by 
the entire town. Indeed, I learned afterwards that some 
of his exploits were only kept out of the city press by a 
well-grounded fear that, if anything amusing or personal 
appeared in print, Don Jose was very likely to come up 
that journalistic staircase and break the editor's head with 
a stick ! Of all the men I have known in the South, Don 
Jose was the most northern in his methods of argument. 

Once (so the story is told) he had a difference with the 
overseer of one of his farms, a very surly Gallegan, with 
a most evil temper. Don Jose knocked him down, and, I 
fear, thrashed him most un-Britishly while in that position. 

"Now," he said, "get up, and if you want to kill me 
with a knife, you will find me asleep by ten o'clock, and 
my door will be unlocked T^ 

So surprised was the man that he bent his knee and 
asked Don Jose's pardon on the spot. 

" But," said he uncertainly, " I suppose now you will 
send me away ? " 

" Oh ! not at all ! " quoth Senor Valtierra ; " why 
should I ? If you are satisfied, I am. You are a good 
overseer, though you do possess the temper of a foundered 
mule ! If you say nothing about what has passed, why 
— no more shall I." 


" Maria Punsiina ! " as the crowd themselves said (all 
of them speaking together), how many things there were 
to see in Zaragoza that day I If, that is, I had only had 
the time to see them — with a mind clear , 
of Httle Zaida and her elusive relatives, !^^^ ^ 
together with the engrossing private affairs 
of Miguel the hunchback and brave Don Jose. For, by 


all the saints, there were certainly a power of things to be 
seen in the capital city of Aragon upon the festal-day of 
Todos los Santos. 

Just when we started across the Plaza in the full glory 
of the sunshine, there came a procession of seminary 
priests, all going jovially with the rest of the world in the 
direction of the Hill of the Dead. Sorrow was not on 
their faces, hardly even of a decent professional sort — for 

2 D 


they belonged, with few exceptions, to a distance, and, as 
in the case of Don Jose, their folk were buried elsewhere. 
But the Senor did not offer them the hospitality of his 

"A little exercise will do the Seminarists no harm!" 
he said grim- 
ly ; " they are 
all young and 
lusty enough, 
surely ! March 
on, then, ye 
holy men ! " 

There were 
also services 
going on at 
most of the 
churches by 
the way, and 
if they did not 
sell doves 
within the 

sacred portals, it was about the only 
thing they did not vend. I saw one 
good old Aragonese dame calmly 
roasting chestnuts well within the 
portal of a church near the city 
barrier. And so strong was the affluence ot buyers 
about her, that I question whether she had not a larger 
congregation than the preacher within. Bakers' shops, 
open to the street as in the East, comfortably invited 
the sense of smell with deliciously fresh-baked bread 
and sweetmeats specially confected for the occasion. 

Out of a gloomy archway issued a Monk of the White. 
He also was on his way to mourn, a tin lantern and a 



candle concealed under his ample cloak, to let his light 
shine before the graves of his ancestors. 

Little processions of nuns, with hushed faces, some of 
them recently expelled from a hard-hearted neighbouring 
republic, wend- 
ed their way 
down quiet 
streets, side 'by 
side with jing- 
ling bullock 
teams. This 
was for them 
one of their 
days of ingath- 
ering. And in 
a little while 
they could be 
seen taking 
their stand — 
one here, 
another there — 
by the great 
gates in the 
glare and the 
heat and the 
dust, a little 
in one hand and 
the other hold- 
ing an umbrella each over her bowed head — very peaceful 
with sweet, downcast eyes, not so much asking as receiving 
the alms of the faithful. 

Most interesting perhaps of all (and certainly that which 
pleased me the most) was an old Aragonese peasant and 

bakers' shops, open to the street as in 



cultivator resting a moment upon a bench under the trees 
at the foot of the Plaza. He was dressed in his ancient 
and picturesque attire. His old wife, too, had donned her 

best blue-and- 
yellow for the 
occasion. The 
light was good, 
and I was fortu- 
nate in "getting" 
the group in the 
onlyway in which 
groups are of the 
least use — that 
is, without the 
knowledge of the 
subjects. One 
cigarette, you ob- 
serve, has already 
been finished by 
the deft fingers of 
the old lady. She 
has very con- 
siderately passed 
this on to calm 
the nerves or the 
temper of her 
husband, excited 
by the length of 
the services in church. The smoker, already tasting the 
pleasures of anticipation, is feeling in his pockets for a 
match, and while the old lady is rolling another, a grand- 
son, evidently town-bred, watches her swift manipulation 
with consuming interest.* 

''■'■ If any one does not know what the often-named alpargatas 
are, they can be seen in their most primitive form upon the feet 



Our team of three horses started with a vast scraping 
and clattering of hoofs, and there was a good deal of 
emulation on the part of the several drivers as to passing 
each other — so much so that I should not have been 
surprised if a few additional graves had been required in 
the cemetery immediately upon our arrival there. Yet 
Don Jose rather stimulated his man than otherwise, by 

demands as to 
whether he meant 
to allow that cross- 
eyed, slack- 
wristed rascal from 





the Gran Parador to pass him — the best driver in Zara- 
goza. And, to my surprise, even the poor widow, with 
the great heavy softish baby in her arms, developed into 
an ardent partisan, and, instead of showing any fear 
actually laughed aloud as we passed carriage after carriage 
— Don Jose giving driver after driver the back of his hand 
as at a chariot-race in the circus. 

of the old peasant in the picture. They are a kind of sandal, 
with soles of finely-knotted string, above which the wearer 
generally wears his hose cross-gartered — or, in lieu of hose, his 
naked legs. 



Mostly the defeated drivers laughed also, if they were 
at all good-humoured fellows. " It is only one more of 
the jests of Don Jose ! " the loser would cry to his next 
neighbour. But one red-faced, deceitful-looking rascal 
from the Fonda Suiza cursed us as we went by. Where- 
upon Don Jose called out to him that his horse looked as if 


it had been well used to the task of conveying people to 
the cemetery on the hill — one at a time ! 

On the whole, it was not a particularly solemn journey, 
and yet no sooner had the driver been paid and the gates 
of the Home of the Dead were in plain sight before us, 
than a hush fell upon every one. The little woman, erst- 
while so excited, put her handkerchief to her eyes and 
cried quietly into it. A shade came over the faces of the 
others. Even Don Jose was silent. 

Nevertheless, as an unattached outsider, I paused a 


moment to note the parties on the scanty grass — women in 
twos and threes with carts and a couple of tethered mules 
or so — all of them, even the mules, enjoying impromptu 

picnics out- 
side thewalls. 
About the 
gates of the 
cemetery, as 
in the town 
itself, were 
many gay 
flower- stalls, 
their awnings 
of striped 
stuff, gen- 
erally red 
and yellow 
in colour. 
At these, 
wreaths, cru- 
cifixes and 
plain bou- 
quets, were 
to be got for 
a few pence. 
also, the same 
stalls sold nuts for the pocket and even herbs for the 

But beneath all this surface levity, the evident sincerity 
of the people, their true reverence, especially during the 
time of the vigil by the tombs, their appreciation of any 
little chance kindness, showed me once again the genuine, 
solid, and noble characteristics of the Spaniards of the 



North, who are, spite of all defects and through all defeats, 
one of the finest peoples in the world. 

At the upper end of the little mortuary-chapel a solitary 
light burned. Otherwise it was empty, swept and gar- 
nished. Service was either over, or had not „ 

. , The Solitary 

yet begun. ^ ^ 

Don Jose took my arm, and, like one who ^ 

knows his way by heart, moved through the crowd. I had 
actually to beg that I might be allowed to expose one or 
two plates upon this strange and, to me, unparalleled 

In the richer parts of the cemetery the throng was not 
nearly so dense. We were, happily, too early for the 
great folk. They would come later. Here and there a 
man in the quiet livery of domestic service in Spain — 
officer's orderly or what not — was busy arranging wreaths 
of flowers, trimming the lamps which would be lit at the 
approach of darkness, or, above all (and taking the eye 
before all else), winding about the graves those long 
streamers of broad purple ribbon with inscriptions in gilt 
upon them — "To our Well-loved Friend, Estanislao Fraile" 
and so forth. 

In these aristocratic quarters all was of marble, and the 
lots carefully defined and plotted out. Consequently, save 
for a few strangers moving about, gazing at the tombs and 
comparing their dressings, the place was deserted. By- 
and-by the grandees would arrive — when, as Don Jose 
remarked rather bitterly, " there is nothing for them to 
do but to adjust their capas, kneel down and pray — before 
going home to supper." 

But the chief interest centred in the poorer portions of 
the cemetery, where the crosses were mostly of wood. 
There one saw whole families about every burying-place, 
clustering thick like bees. There were all sorts of decora- 


tions too. I saw one very large wreath made of thyme 
from the hillsides. A woman in her peasant costume and 
a boy in a blue blouse kept guard over it. Even where 
there was no cross at all, or any monument except the 
regulation cemetery number, there was always a diamond- 
shaped lantern and a 
penny candle. But (and it 
was no wonder) Don Jose, 
at last losing patience, 
hurried me past these 
things, and we turned 


sharply through a small door into another and apparently 
wholly private portion of the vast graveyard. 

Here there were many avenues of dusky yews, and the 
monuments were generally fewer and simpler in taste. 

Suddenly we stood before a tall beautifully-formed 

tomb of the purest white marble, with only a single line 

of inscription in raised letters upon it — all, 

. save the little blue shadows which these cast, 

^ of the same dead whiteness. There were 

several wreaths upon the monument, but they also were 


either of white or of the palest blue. To the right, and a little 
retired, a rose-tree was still thrusting one or two blossoms 
athwart an artificial rockery. Here, by no means in bad 
taste, had been constructed a little shrine of the Virgin. 
The white marble Virgin with her attendant penitent 


Stood well back among the foliage. It was certainly 
beautifully carved, and as different as possible from the 
tinselled dolls in the churches. Deeply shadowed, the 
figure of a woman kneeled beneath in an attitude of 
reverence, her hands clasped and her eyes looking up- 
ward with a kind of wonder, at once mild and sad. I 
could only see the bent head, together with the curves of 
her shoulders and waist. Don Jose held up his hand and 
we moved softly away. 


He did not speak, but, for all that, I knew I had seen 
the mysterious Senora. Don Jose put his hand within 
the flap of his coat, where he kept his pocket-book. He 

took from it the poor 
ill-printed photograph 
he had seen for the 
first time on the out- 
skirts of the pihadas 
near the hut of Miguel 
Toros. I had not seen 
him look at it since, 
or, indeed, did henow. 
Instead, he lifted 
his finger and pointed 
to the inscription on 
the stone of white 
marble. I read : 






Few words, yet 
they might alrrost 
have served for the 
universal tombstone inscription of the world — ever since 
Eve, expelled from the Garden of the Four Rivers, laid 
away Abel under the soil and wept as she looked out 
towards the Land of Nod. But Don Jose continued to 
point, at the same time bending down till his lips almost 
touched my ear. 



" Now is the time," he whispered, " for you to redeem 
your promise, Senor — or to break a woman's heart. You 
asked for a reason why I had a right to ask you where 
abides Zaida, the daughter of Cyrilla Toro. Well, there 
is your reason ! " 

And his index-finger passed slowly from the tomb of 
white marble to the dark figure of the kneeling woman.* 

" Be gentle with her," he whispered. ** Remember, she 
believes that the child is dead ! " 

Then he spoke, quite in his natural voice : 

" Cyrilla ! " he said. 

As in the sudden crises of life we generally stand 

quiet and chill, so also when we are very greatly surprised. 

At least, I did so now. Even wonder 

At last 

^ seemed to be lacking. I only grew a little 

"Cynlla ! , , 

' colder. 

The woman turned her head at the voice, uncom- 
prehendingly at first. And then, seeing Don Jose standing 
there with a smile on his face, she ran to him, suddenly 
transfigured, crying out, " My husband ! My husband ! " 

While she laid her head on his bosom and sobbed, I 
thought of Miguel Toro. It was almost his voice — nay, 
the very accent he had used when he told me how his 
sister Cyrilla had promised to stay with him for ever and 

" Hush ! " said Don Jose, gently touching her on the 
shoulder, " here is a stranger ! To weep is good, beloved, 
— it eases the heart — but not here — not in a public place ! " 

The lady whom Don Jose had called his wife lifted up 
her face, and, even through the mist of tears, the eyes 
looked out at me. 

* The figure beneath " Our Lady of Tears" is, of course, not 
that of Cyrilla, but the Attendant Penitent, mentioned as forming 
part of the group. 


There was no mistake. These, and no others, were 
the large passionate eyes, that, the wistful mouth with the 
self-same eager love-craving expression that had gone to 
my heart in the little girl Zaida. All was the same — but 
older, sadder, yet somehow serener too. The cloud had 
been long in passing. The waters had been deep. They had 
gone over that dark and shapely head Grief and tears had 
moulded that full mouth till it was now carven like Niobe's. 
Instead of spiced wine, they had given her vinegar to 
drink. Lover and friend had been put far from her — at 
least once on a time, in the days of darkness, that had 
indeed been so. But, thank God — and the man — it was 
not any longer ! 

" Cyrilla ! " Don Jose had called her. And I did not 
doubt for a moment that there before me, in the flesh, 
stood the woman who as a girl had been Cyrilla Toro — 
so careless, so light-hearted, to men just a little cruel, the 
winsome Cyrilla Toro. 

I had no idea what was to come next. Behind us, among 
the yews, I could hear the stir of other visitors. And 
though the little shrine and the marble monument were 
apart from the other graves and the path to them little 
trodden, yet we could by no means count on being alone. 
For me, I had lost initiative. I must leave everything to 
Don Jose, who stood still with his arm about this Cyrilla 
—risen, so far as I was concerned, abruptly as Lazarus 
from the very tomb's mouth when they rolled away the 

" Cyrilla," said Don Jose very gently, " dearest, this 
stranger brings news that may be good. He is of the 
English, but has been long in France and Spain, and has 
wondrously come to learn many things, even concerning 
that which is closest — closest to your heart ! Will you 
hear him speak ? " 


It did not seem a very promising opening, but I judged 
that Senor Valtierra knew his own business best. So I 
reached out one hand for the photograph. With my other 
I was about to open the flap of rough brown paper which 
covered it, when, by a stroke of good fortune, my eyes fell 
once more on the letters of the inscription. Instinctively 
I read them aloud : 


" 5«/," I added, looking straight at the Senora, "some- 
tunes the lost are found again /" 

The Senora kept silence. Either she failed to under- 
stand (which afterwards I found to have been the true 
state of the case) or she did not believe me. At most she 
had a vague impression that I was endeavouring to admin- 
ister some sort of amateur ghostly comfort. 

It would not do. It was necessary that I should try 
again. I did so, handing her the El Seo photograph 
without a word. 

Once more the pictured eyes of Zaida did their work. 
I thought the Senora would faint. All vestiges of colour 
left her face. She became white as the marble against 
which she had been leaning. 

" Speak no lies to me ! " she cried, turning her great 
sad eyes on me. " Give me no false hopes — I cannot bear 
them again — not again ! I had begun — yes, a little— to 
forget ! " 

As usual, words came back to me with a rush. " There 
is a hope, Senora ! " I said. " I have come from afar to 
give it you. I bring you the picture of Zaida, the 
daughter of Don Alonso of Miranda-Aran. She is not 
dead. She has been brought up by her grandfather, the 
Bishop of El Seo, and his brother, Don Manuel Sebastian, 
called the Count of Miranda-Aran." 


2 F. 


" But, no — she was stolen away from me — years ago — 
years ago, I tell you ! " she cried ; " stolen when she was 
but a babe — by the Wicked Woman. They told me she 
was dead. Almost I died then ! And I would have died 
altogether but that Don Jose here, my husband, found me 
— drew me — saved me — gave me shelter — and rest, and — 
that love of his which I deserve so little ! " 

" Hush thee, then — hush ! Let us go home 1 All 
will be made clear there. Come, Cyrilla 1 " said Don Jose, 
drawing her away affectionately. 

"Tell me first when last you saw her," she urged, 
clutching at me, " is she well ? You are sure she lives ? 
It is as you say ? Ah, do not deceive a poor woman ! " 

" At least," I answered, lightly as I could, " she was 
well a few days ago. She is in France, in the Ariege, safe 
with one of the truest of women and one of the loyalest of 
men ! " 

But all the excitement had proved too much for her, and 
she sank quietly back with a soft breathing sigh into the 
arms of her husband. Don Jose carried her rapidly to the 
carriage which was in waiting at a side gate. The crowd 
everywhere made respectful way. Indeed the incident 
caused no astonishment whatever. 

"Ah, the poor lady, she lost her first, her only babe! 
I have seen it so written on the tomb ! " I heard one 
woman whisper to another. 

"And she has set up a shrine to the Mother of Con- 
solation — Pitrisinia! She must, indeed, be a good 
Christian ! " came the answer. 

" What better comfort can there be to a mother than to 
pray to The Mother ? " asked the first, with uplifted eyes. 

You find religion — aye, and true religion too, though 
perhaps not quite undefiled religion, in every woman's 
heart in Spain. The grain is good grain, even though it 


has not been sifted. Yet who among the doctors is prepared 
to say how much of rehgion and how much of superstition 
there is in any human soul ? 

Don Jose lifted Cyrilla out of the carriage and carried 
her within as if she had been a child. Going up the steps 
she opened her eyes, and meeting the kindly look and 
calm assuring face of her husband, she said slowly, with her 
sweet and languid smile, "Now I shall have something to 
add to the stone in the cemetery by the grotto of our 
Lady of Tears : 


Then seeing, or seeming to see, with one of the quick 
inexpressible intuitions of women, the shadow upon her 
husband's face — as if he had been left out in the pro- 
noun " I " which she had used, she added, patting his 

" Ah, Jose mine, this your little Cyrilla was also lost ! 
And who but you could have found her? " 


Immediately in front of Don Jose'y windows women were 
teasing " flock " mattresses with the easy friendUness ol 

_ Spain. A thin icy drizzle was falling which 

made the men who hurried by draw tighter 
^ about their throats the folds of their capas. 

But, for all the difference the weather made to these busy 
workers, it might have been the soft airs of spring which 
were visiting them. I could not help hoping that the 
people to whom the mattresses belonged might be equally 
indifferent to " th' heat o' the sun, and the furious winter's 
rages ! " 

I sat and looked down at these women, wondering with 
that curious automatic "other half of the brain" what 
they were, how and where they lived, who had been their 
" playmates and companions," if they were wedded or 
single — while at the same time all my being was taking 
in, with a keen and delighted wonder, every detail of the 
story of Cyrilla Toro, told me by her own lips — her hus- 
band, Don Jose, acting meantime as suggester, prompter, 
brake, and the man who lets down the curtain. 

For in spite of all, Cyrilla Valtierra remained much of 
the old Cyrilla — though every trait was curiously blurred 


and altered, as if some exquisite work of art had been 
dipped into a fiery bath of metal, from which it had 
emerged as precious, perhaps — but different. 

No, the fine gold had not grown dim — only its most 
glittering facets had been overlaid. She who had been a 


winsome mischievous girl had become sweet and patient — 
emergent from suffering, like, let us say, that "other Mary," 
when at the end of things John took her to his own home. 

While I had been sitting in the great, somewhat bare 
room, waiting for Dofia Cyrilla and her husband (for once 
Don Jose had to take the second place), I cast my thoughts 
back and noted how curiously the story of little Zaida had 
pursued me ever since I had entered the country. I saw how 
1 had been led on from point to point — from less to more 


— from ignorance to knowledge. The man in whose care 
Zaida was now, Bino, the faithful, had brought me into 
Spain, and had served me ever since with complete 
though intermittent loyalty, ^aida's great-uncle, Don 
Manuel Sebastian, had been my first host — and, perhaps, 
take him altogether, was the greatest figure the Peninsula 
had revealed to me. Her second-cousins had taught me 
how to smuggle, according to its various shades of black, 
white and grey. Zaida's grandfather it was who had 
showed to me the beauty of holiness, in a threadbare 
violet gown in the garden-garth of La Delicia near by the 
City of El Seo. It was the father of Zaida's foster- 
mother, one Rodil, a caravan-merchant, who had brought 
me into her presence. In his company the trustfulness 
"of that bright young face had first greeted my eyes, among 
the blackened ruins of Miranda-Aran. 

Here all unexpectedly I had come upon the history of 
her father Alonso, that unworthy son of Armandus, Bishop 
of El Seo. Last of all I had heard the story of Cyrilla, 
iier mother, who at the first had seemed almost equally 
unworthy, in that she could apparently attempt to bring 
dishonour upon one of those rare souls, who truly walk 
with God. 

The Carlist camp and the various connubial and ad- 
venturous excuses of my companions had brought me to 
the strange stone hut of the forest-guard among the pine 
woods of Senor Valtierra. There for the first time I had 
heard the true story of the girlhood of Zaida's mother, 
how Cyrilla Toro had been no adventuress, however gay 
and unthoughtful for herself, or even careless of the feel- 
ings of others. I heard how she had taken her life in 
her hand and gone forth, discounting the reproach. 
Such a woman could not be reckoned either selfish or 


But till Don Jose came walking his horse upward 
through the pinadas, till he found me doing the duties of 
forest-guard among his pines, till he had taken my photo- 
graph of the little maid in his hand, till he had stood 
marble-pale at shepherd Adan's question, I had believed 
(what I now knew to be false) that the Frenchwoman's 
Pool ended all. The little shrine of the Virgin seen on 
the Day-of-AU-the-Saints, and the empty tomb with its 
simple inscription, had told me the rest. So, sitting thus 
and watching the flock-pickers on the wet pavement, I 
heard feet on the stair, and rose to receive Don Jose and 
his wife. 

Already Cyrilla looked more composed and happier than 
on the day before. She took my hand in a long clasp, 

" I know now that what you told me is true," she said, 
" my little girl lives. God has revealed it to me in the 
night ! " 

Her husband lifted a quiet informing eye upon me, and 
so, bowing only, I let her go on. With a swift and dainty 
gesture she lifted the picture to her lips. 

" Oh, I can hardly bear to wait," she cried. " I want 
so to kiss her — to clasp the little one in my arms. But 
Don Jose, who is wise, says I must wait. 
We must first, it seems, see Don Manuel TheJVIother- 
Sebastian and the Bishop. It is right, he 
says. They have cared and thought and loved, during the 

years. We not because we did not know. She was 

lost — lost for ever. And but for him — (here she patted 
her husband's cheek with a look that is quite inexpres- 
sible) I too would have died. I wanted to die. But now 
— to live — to live years and years is my desire ! " 

She held out the print at arm's length. It was a poor 
picture at the best, but it got infinitely more than its meed 
of praise in Spain that day. 


" I think from this," she cried, with the sudden dainty 
bird-like turn of the head and the same dimple of smiling 
assurance that was so charming in Zaida, " that she pro- 
mises to be — as pretty — as I used to be ! " 

" Never ! " cried Don Jose loyally, " never ! " Then 
seeing the two seas meet — pleasure and disappointment 
joined on his wife's face — he added hastily, " But she will 
be lovely all the same, doubt it not. This gentleman 
says so. And indeed, even in the picture the eyes — the 
very eyes — of my Cyrilla look out at me ! " 

And at these words the eyes of the true wife lifted upon 
him, and if ever little Zaida's were destined to look at 
any one like that — well, he ought to be a happy man, that 
is all. 

From that time it was the voice of Cyrilla only that I 
heard speaking — she that had been dead and was alive 
again. Sometimes the story was supplemented and 
amended by her husband, when Cyrilla's memory failed 
her, or indignation seemed ready to burst forth. And this 
which follows was the story that I heard, looking down 
upon the mattress-clearers "teasing" the fluff in the thin 
icy drizzle — the "flock" which, once more compacted, 
was destined to sow influenza and rheumatism and chills 
innumerable among the honest citizens of Zaragoza. 


Why did I love him ? I do not know. One woman 
may make another woman understand that, but never a 
man. A man never really understands why a woman can 
love any man except himself ? Such is his nature, as I 
have known it — yes, even Don Jos6. 


But did I once love this man — Alonso the Carlist ? As 
one remembers a dream of the night in the glare of noon- 
day, it comes back to me that I did. As one who has 
walked in his sleep, and, having fallen, awakes sore wounded 
and wondering — so seems my life with Alonso to me now 
and here. 

Once I know it was not so. Let me think. It began 

I saw him lying there, wounded, weak, saying nothing, 
asking nothing, caring for nothing. He was so different 
from the others, who were always coming 

on horseback, speaking praises and clad as °^^° 

.» ♦ -^ / .u f T5 . .u- Carlist 

men that ride forth to woo. But this man 

was pale, lying still and seeming ready to die — even wishful 

that he might. But as often as I came within his room I 

knew that my coming was his heaven, and that, when I 

went, the sun set for him that day. 

How did I know these things ? How does a woman 
know anything about a man ? Perhaps the Senor in his 
wisdom thinks that she needs first to see it printed in a 
book ? 

So went many days, and somehow by-and-by, in the 
quiet of these summer hours, there fell a constraint upon 
me. My brother was far away in the pinadas. The 
work of the household was soon done. Within that door, 
as it were, ever present to my heart, there lay a man 
praying — yes, praying that I might open it and only smile 
upon him — no more. Sometimes the thought drove me 
out into the shadows of the woods. And I tried to do — 
well, as I was used to of yore, such a long time ago — 
sit and sew, watching the road for the cavaliers, cloaked 
with blue, cinctured with vermilion, horsemen young and 
bold, who came riding upon horses, all to show themselves 
off before me ! 


But it would not do. No, in a little while I began to 
feel the strings tugging at my heart — as if one had drawn 
me with cords, or, as Father Gregorio says, " with the 
bands of a man." 

I saw, clearly as in a vision (sitting there in the woods), 
the little room, the open window with the shutters closed on 
the crosshasp, and one ray of green sunlight wavering 
through the fig-tree on the whitewash of the walls. And on 
the bed lay a man, very quiet, with swathed head, who only 
watched the shut door, and — yes, as I said before — prayed 
for the sound of my footsteps along the flagged passage. 

The others — they could do everything for themselves. 

They offered to do everything for me. They had great 

horizons — vistas wide as those you see from 

e ower ^ mountain top when the heavens are clear 

„ . . of cloud. This man alone could do nothing 

for himself. If I would not help him, sit by 

him, care for him, I knew he must abide lonely and 

perhaps suffering all day till my brother's return. 

I was all the world to him. He could give me nothing 
— offer me nothing. That was his first charm. He was 
about to die, and asked no better than that he should die — 
with his head . . . where no man's head had ever been. 
Yet he did not ask it. He only looked. But all the 
same I knew. 

Now do you understand ? 

Well, not fully perhaps. But more so than Don Jose, 
who never will understand, or, indeed, will let me speak 
about it — saving this one time, which we owe to you 
fairly for that which you have brought us. 

And so — and so — the pines had no more of me for a 
while. Perhaps it was the mother in the girl that had 
awakened. I wanted to "mother" Don Alonso, the 
wounded man — not knowing that — well, what I know now. 


Almost as in after days with my babe, I lifted him and 
laid him. And it ended as, I suppose, all very wise 
people would have foreseen from the beginning — / loved 

But, being no more than a young and ignorant girl I did 
not know, I could not foresee. How could I ? Had I not 
always been sufficient for everything that came my way 
before ? Aye, truly — and something more ! Perhaps 
if Don Jose, my friend, had been near to me the end 
might have been different. I do not know. At any rate, 
so it was. 

And when Don Alonso grew better, and was able to go 
out among the trees, he must needs have my arm, and, 
after every few steps, rest. Then he seemed to depend 
on me more than ever. But, all the same, there came 
suddenly came upon me one day the sense that I was 
bound — captured — taken — as in a net I have seen a wild 
thing of the forest. I struggled to be loose, and tried 
my most desperate to free myself. But I think, like 
the bird in the meshes, I only ruffled my wings and lay 

Then one day, late in the evening, we came home 
together, he and I, thinking no evil. And lo ! we found 
my brother (who had passed us in the deep places of the 
wood, unseen himself) angry with a terrible anger. And 
that night we fled together and — I have never seen Miguel 
Toro since ! 

After that, he told me that we must go very far away — 
across the mountains into France. But first I caused 
Alonso to accompany me to Father Gregorio, who, choos- 
ing between two evils, and knowing my nature from a 
child, gave us that blessing which a priest can give, and 
said the Holy Mass over our heads as we knelt to take 


communion. It was, I know, no strict marriage, but it 
held as well as another. Nevertheless Alonso promised that 
in France we should be wedded again according to the law 
of that State. For, desiring safety, he had made himself 
of the French nation. 

It was the height of summer, and the mountains were 
mostly as bare of snow as the palm of your hand. So 
sometimes we walked and sometimes we rode in ox- 
waggons, abiding in cabins of the shepherds and metairies 
by the wayside — till at last there came the rest-house on 
the pass, the white roads like spread tables, and the long 
descent into France. 

He was taking me to his home, he said, and I was 
content. Who, indeed, would not have been ? 

Aye, and to make me love him more, at Toulouse he 
kept his word. We were married duly, and after the 
Mayor's room in the town-house, we went also to another 
church and heard words said over us by a French priest. 
But my real marriage was done by Father Gregorio, who 
knew all from the beginning, and can witness even to this 
day if in aught I have spoken untruly. He is in this city 
now, and even ere we go we shall seek him. Nay, Jose, 
it is my wish that this stranger shall know all — all. If he 
gives me back my Zaida, why — there is nothing I would 
refuse to him which my tongue can utter. 

But in Toulouse, after a week or two, I found Don 
Alonso strangely altered. He had lived in that city 
before, but his work kept him much away, in cafes and 
places where men meet and come forth smelling of tobacco 
and wine. Moreover, this work of his — I know it now, 
though I did not then — was to spy upon his fellow 
countrymen, and to find out their secrets. He used to go 
off on long journeys to Bayonne, to St. Jean de Luz, to 
Biarritz, even to Bordeaux. Wherever the Carlista exiles 



were gathered together, there went Alonso of Miranda- 
Aran. And they welcomed him for the sake of his people 
and his good name, telling him their secrets and thinking 
no evil. 

Nor, indeed, did I, though I was lonely — ^very lonely — 
having then no child, but instead — as is the custom of 
women — the need to cry, to be " made of " and petted, 
which — but, after all, you are but two men ! How can I 
expect you to understand ? No, I bore it all for love's 
sake, and in a way was happy enough. Till one terrible 
day a woman laughed at me in the street and called after 
me, so that I set my fingers in my ears. No, not for my 
own sake, for not a word did I believe. But for the sake 
of the innocent thing that should one day be. Yes, that 
was it. Nevertheless I went home and cried alone. Then 
in the evening, after it was dark, came this woman again, 
and when like a simpleton I opened the door, she pushed 
past me, clamouring ! Yes, mad — I do indeed think she 
was mad ! For she cried out upon me that the house 
was hers, that it had been hers for a long season^that 
my husband Alonso was hers — yes, had been hers for 
years, before ever he set eyes on me 1 

At the first I stood dumb, not taking in a word, far less 
believing it. For I loved this man and had followed him 
to a far land. So I called the officers and had her put 
forth. But as she went she cursed the babe unborn with 
a great evil, and promised that it should die unbaptized, 
for that which I had done to her. She would keep her 
word, she said, blaspheming. She was, as I thought, but 
a poor street-trull, decked out with gewgaws.' My hus- 
band could never — no, never — have looked at such. I 
'loved him too well even to soil my soul with thinking it. 

But on the next day, a neighbour who dwelt in the 
same house — a woman who, perhaps because I was 


younger or better to look upon than she, wished me no 
good — took me aside and told me that it was all true. 
And because even then I would not believe, she brought 
in other neighbours to testify to her story. 

And so in the dulling afternoon I was left there — alone. 
I sat down and wrote a letter to Alonso — who had been 
my husband — at Bayonne he was. But he never 
answered, going instead to Spain — as they told me, with 
this woman. But that, at least, was false. She abode in 
the city and waited for her vengeance. For Alonso was 
dead already. 

So in the fulness of the time the child was born — 
Francisca Zaida, I called her — the name coming to me in 
a dream as if written in letters of fire. In 

T -fl-io 

the blackness of such sorrow as I pray that ^ , 

, , . , ,. Fulness of 

no woman may know — that is and live — ,, ^. 

, . , - . . the Time 

this pearl 01 price came into my arms. 

But the neighbours went in and out, making much of 
me and of the child — especially the woman who had given 
me the evil information about my husband. And when I 
was again about the house — well of body, and able to 
care for the babe, lo, this woman bade me come quickly 
one night to her room, for that one of her children had 
fallen unconscious, and she knew not what to do. So, as 
I had the skill in simples which one learns in woods and 
in the country, I went, the babe Zaida being fast asleep. 

Also, about that time my heart began to uplift in me, 
for I said to myself — after all, it is of the nature of the 
men of our country, at least in cities. Moreover, it had 
been finished, as even the woman herself said, before ever 
he had set eyes on me. Perhaps, I thought, that was the 
reason why he used to sit, and look so long and so sadly 
at me — because he did not dare to tell me ! 

So in my heart of hearts, I even began to forgive my 


husband, and wrote the second time to tell him so. And 
though he lay still with the red earth over him, long or 
ever the letter reached him, still I am glad to think now 
that I wrote that to him for a last farewell. No, Jose, do 
not smite the table — I am glad ! 

Well, feeling the life thus coming back, and, happy in 
the beauty of my babe, I went not unwilhngly to help the 
other woman's child. Also, being lonely, it is woman's 
nature to wish to speak to some one of her babe and its 
beauty. But when I got there — lo, it was all nothing. 
The boy sat eating an orange. I remained awhile talking 
— oh, to think upon the folly of it now ! 

And when I went back to my own chamber above, and 
bent over the cradle, to look and worship the babe — my 
little Zaida w-as gone ! 

Ah, Seiior, whatever my sins (and indeed my own 
heart condemns me), surely I, a poor girl, had not 
deserved that ! Even Father Gregorio says so. Yet God 
entered into judgment with me. I never thought to find 
Him gracious again. And indeed it has taken Him a long 
time ! 

My child was gone, and only waiting to look about 
the house (for, I thought, some one might have hidden 
her for a jest) I ran out into the night ! The streets 
were busy with many people. And some mocked at 
me, while others — oh ! that Don Jose had been there ! 
The evil beasts ! Then I went to the police folk, but they 
would do nothing. They would send and inquire — oh 
yes, to-morrow. The commissary would present himself. 
But at present it was impossible. He was dining. Besides, 
the child would surely turn up. Who wanted to steal a 
child ? So once again I ran back to ask of the neighbours. 
But they mocked at me, or at least so it appeared. 


For the house was hateful to me ; all the more that there 
was one there who said loudly that Alonso, my husband, 
owed him money, and that everything in the house was 
his and not mine any more. I must take nothing away. 
I did not care. I only wanted the babe, and I would go. 
Oh, right gladly ! 

Perhaps I did not understand. You see, I did not then 
speak the French language as I do now. Mayhap some 
of them wished to be kind. But this I know, they would 
not help me to find my babe. So I ran out again into the 
darkness. It was in the beautiful spring weather, but, as 
is the custom there in the twilight, the chill wind of the 
Midi was blowing. 

Now, there was no doubt in my mind at all as to who 
had done this thing. It was the Evil Woman. She and 
no other had taken my child — his child — all to be revenged 
on me. She would seek him with the child, and (so in 
my folly I told myself) bribe him to love her with the 
beautiful babe that was mine alone. Now I am wiser. 
I know that when women seek to win men, they do not 
take them other women's children. 

[Here Don Jose gently stroked his wife's hand.] 

Well (she continued, calming herself), I cannot tell 
much more. Those lighted streets — they seemed to 
pursue me. I asked a man passing along a boulevard, 
where there were trees and shops with closed shutters, 
if I was upon the right way to Spain. He caught me by 
the wrist, laughing. But in a moment I flashed a knife 
before his eyes, clear in the yellow shine of the gas-lamps. 
Ha ! if he had not fled, there had been one dog the less 
in Toulouse that night 1 So I went on and on till I was 
clear of the town and the dreadful spying of the lamps. 
Then bit by bit there came back to me the learning of the 
stars, which had been taught me by my brother in the 

2 F 


pinadas on the hillsides. Easily I found that strange 
North Star, on which the world turns, and I set my back 
to it. Any road, so I thought, must end by taking me to 
Spain so long as I kept my back steadily to that star. 

How far it might be to my own land I knew not. We 
had come by train part of the way, my husband and I. 
But now, I had not even thought to take what money 
there was in the house. It was little — my husband 
having promised to send me more from Bayonne. Only 
two sous did I possess in all the world. And I was a 
woman with a child to find, wandering in search of her 
through the world — weak also, the faintncss of child- 
bearing being still upon me. 

For the rest I know not much, I went on till I fell 
down. And when I could I rose up again. Some- 
times it was day, and then again it would be night — 
without any reason. I was wet with the rains and 
presently dry again in the wind. Here and there people 
spoke to me, and some — though whom I 
remember not now — must have been kind 
to me, giving me food and drink. And 
always I made inquiry for a woman — and a babe the 
most beautiful in the world, a maid-child called Zaida. 
But the woman was hateful to look upon. 

I am sure they thought that I was mad. Yet all the 
same — perhaps the more because of that — they let me go 
on. However, ask as I would, high or low, hill-land or 
valley, none had seen any such woman. Indeed, all my 
ourney is now but a blur to myself. One night I remem- 
ber I was high among the hills, and there fell a spring 
storm, called a bourrasque. How the snow swooped 
down ! For I was high up, and I hid me behind a rock, 
and said, " Now all will be well ! I shall sleep and wake 



no more ! Then, maybe, I shall find my babe ! At the 

worst I shall not know ! " 

Whether or not I would have remembered, God only 

knows ! But that I would at least have died every 

shepherd on the hills, every forest-guard, every smuggler 

can tell you. Not that I was sorry tor that — save when I 

thought of those who should bring up Zaida perhaps to 

be devilish — Hke the Woman. I laid me down, for it 

seemed warmer behind the stones. And strange lights 

flashed before my eyes, and were gone. And in my head 

fiery balls began, small as garden-peas, but they grew 

and burst at last great as thunderbolts. And then — / 

remembered God. Utterly I had forgotten Him, not, I 

mean, as every one forgets Him except when they are in 

want of something, but I had forgotten 
Out of the ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^g g^^j^ ^ jj^j^ gg Q^j J -YYievQ 


are people who doubt even that, you say ? 

Ah well, then, I say this — they have never 

sought their own little babe through a snowstorm upon 

the Pyrenees ! 

There is a God — I, Cyrilla, know it, for I cried to Him 
out of the depths — yes, bitterly I cried, reproaching Him 
that He had entered into judgment with me — with me, 
who had never missed making monthly my confession to 
Father Gregorio — with me who had ever loved the Holy 
Virgin — she who had but one Child — but One — even 
as I! 

And I vowed — oh, Sefior, I would tell you if I could ! 
I am hiding nothing, but indeed what I vowed I cannot 
remember. And the storm came on worse and worse 
every moment, and I never a whit the colder. I heard 
the winds howling, and sometimes a fleck of snow would 
drive behind my rock. But it came not about me, save as 
a bank to break the blast. That was because the God 


who held the storm in the hollow of his hand made 
Himself a shelter about me. At least, Father Gregorio 
says so, and who should know if not he ? He is such 
a good man. But as for Cyrilla, she only wanted to 

At last I fell asleep, expecting never to wake — hoping 
it, indeed ! 

And lo ! Senor, listen to this, for indeed it is very 
wonderful. When I came to myself, it was upon the arm 
of Don Jose here ! He had followed me step by step — 
aye, all the way from Toulouse, as the shepherd searches 
the hills for his lost lamb. 

For he knew long aforetime where it was that Don 
Alonso had his home — indeed, it was a thing known to 
many. A man like Don Alonso cannot be hid. To gain 
his living he must be known and so far approved of many. 
And he had pretty ways — pretty and manly, too. But 
though Don Jose had been in Toulouse — yes, often during 
the time I was there, putting Juana into the Convent of 
the Sacred Heart (for, after all, she had decided to be a 
nun), he had never once come near me. And for that I 
do not quite forgive, even yet. Though if you ask him — 
of course, like a man, he has his answer ready. 

But as soon as he knew that Alonso, my husband, had 
been slain and I left alone, at once widow and mother, 
(for he knew of that, too), lonely in a strange city, he had 
left all behind him and come to seek me ! It had been his 
idea to put me into Juana's convent, that I might be 
sheltered till things should clear themselves a little. For, 
oh ! his heart is big and true and wise — yes, it is, Jose 
mine, and I will say it to the stranger. But, indeed, he 
knows it well of his own seeing, for none can be so long 
with my Jose without seeing the manner of man he is. 


Oh ! Jos6, why — why did you give your love to a poor, 
foolish, broken thing like me ? 

And then — ^yes, I will go on with the story. There is 

not much more to tell now — no, not much. Don Jose set 

the police folk on the track, together with 

o gui es ^j^^ telegraph and all those things that I had 
not known how to use. And he followed 
after step by step as they traced me from village to village. 
And at the last before the final ascent of the Pass, he 
arrived just at the storm's beginning. Whereupon he 
had gotten together many men — with promises of silver 
and gold, doubtless, as is his way — also horses and dogs, 
and had tracked me over the mountains, through the snow- 
drifts, casting a wide net and fetching a compass about 
me. But though that was all wise and good, I know 
indeed — as Father Gregorio says — that it was God who 
guided Don Jose to the rock — He to whom I had cried in 
the dark out of a heart made desolate — yes, Senor, a 
woman forsaken and grieved in spirit and a wife of youth, 
as it had been, refused. 

That is what Father Gregorio says. And, indeed, he 
has reason. For one more tossed with tempest than 
Cyrilla Toro there was not that day between the Land of 
the Living and the Place of the Dead. 

So Don Jose, finding me there, under the great rock 
with thef snow all about, drew me out, and, awaking 
slowly, I lay still, knowing only that I was safe, and that 
there was no more for me to do. Ah ! it is good to know 
that, if you are a woman and weak. He took me to the 
Lady Superior of Juana's convent, for she was then, as 
now, with the nuns — aye, and of the best of them, full 
of love and kindness as ever, Juana, my sister. 

And after that, for long and long, I stood out, and 


would not come to him — because, after that night, some- 
how my head would not get well. And even now there 
are times— when — yes, Jose, I will tell — when I am not 
kind even to him — mourning for my child. But all that 
will be past when I have found Zaida, the babe whom 
I counted as dead. 

But once there came a time when Don Jose stayed 
away a long season — many weeks. And I was lonely 
and afraid — most of all fearing myself. So then I knew 
that I could not do without him. And I spoke to Juana, 
who knew all things, and she to the Mother Superior, 
and between them they sent word by telegraph to Don 
Jose, a message costing many francs. In the nunnery 
they still speak about the cost. But he paid them back. 
And when at last he came, I told him how I had tried — 
but could not do without him any more ! 

Whereat he said that, being no longer of the youngest 
of men, it was a pity that so much good time had been 
wasted. So we were married and he brought me here. 
But even in the warm shining of his love and the great 
safe covert of his heart, there has been within me, night 
and day, an ache — an emptiness — until . 

(Here she reached me out her hand for the first time 
during the telling of the tale, adding only these words :) 

" But now my heart is full — full ! " 

Then to this absorbed audience of two I told all the 
tale which, having told it before, I need not repeat — the 
story of my meeting with the Sebastians, concerning 
Zaida and Miranda-Aran, of the soiling of the Bishop's 
robe on the day of the enthronement, of Andres and his 
wife. Last of all I spoke of the Frenchwoman's Pool, and 
of what had taken place there. 

And at this Cyrilla, who had been listening with t\]§ 


apple of her full throat rising and falling, as if she were 

drinking alternate draughts of sweet and 

bitter, suddenly sprang to her feet. Her 

p.. husband's arm shot out as if to restrain her. 

" Oh, then she is dead ! " she cried, her 

eyes shining — " the Evil Woman ! I am glad she is 

dead. God is good. She took my babe. She tried to 

take my husband. She would have drowned my Zaida, 

if she could. But there is a God after all, who punishes 

iniquity. It is not ' all the same ! ' And she knew it 

before she died — I am so glad — so glad ! Ah, before she 

passed, when the waters were black in her throat, then 

even as I, she knew the bitterness of death ! " 

For this Cyrilla was of the old race of Spanish women, 
and made no pretence, in the sudden volcanic outpouring 
of her heart, long pent up, to the milder virtues of for- 
giveness. I judge that a fairly ancient type of woman 
spake in these words of Cyrilla Toro. 

Her husband tried to soothe her. 

" After all she is dead ! Let be ! " he said, touching 
his wife, and endeavouring to draw her again down to 
her place by his side, 

*' I am glad of it — glad of it ! " she cried, clenching her 
hands convulsively by her side, as if she would bury her 
nails in the flesh. 

Moving his head ever so slightly, Don Jose signalled 
to me to go. He followed me to the door, and, under 
pretext of closing it, came a step without. And as I went 
he whispered, " These fits come upon her — though now but 
rarely. Leave us for a little — I and only I can manage 
her. For this cause I have not told her brother till they 
are well enough to be brought together. Because you 
know our poor Miguel's head is sometimes troubled also. 
It is the sorrow that has fallen upon these two. Go now. 



In a little I will come ! I think your news is the best 
medicine after ^11. It will not be long," 

I went. I waited. But instead it was Cyrilla who 
came herself to find me, with clasped hands and gentle 
petitionary grace. 

** I am sorry/' she said. " Sometimes I forget myselt 


when I think on the Evil One. But you, who know, 
will forgive me. I promise you, the day I take Zaida 
to my bosom, I will forgive — even her! At least, I will 

And from that and from what followed after, I learned 
that a bad woman may sometimes forgive, but a truly 
good one — never. She says it over to herself that she 
does — but even, in the saying of it, up leaps the 
eternal unforgiveness, eager, poignant, not to be denied. 
Yet one day that rancour also will depart, dissolved 


and lost in the first cool wash of eternity. Doubt it 
not I 

Once more then we journeyed from Zaragoza to El Seo 
— first on one of the great through-lines of Spain — then 
more laboriously on small mountain railways, climbing 
asthmatically up towards the summits of the hills, with 
engineers who lit their pipes as their train plunged into a 
tunnel and had them finished to the last huge whiff ere 
the king's lieges again saw daylight. 

At length we came to a little wayside station, beyond 

which, owing to the disturbed state of the country, even 

the construction trains did not " function.'' 

Here we found mules and horses, ordered 

by Don Jose to carry us to El Seo, that 

minutest of all the cathedral cities of Spain, where as yet 

the hoot of the steam whistle hath never been heard, nor 

have flakes of briquette dust defiled the clean land. 

Of El Seo nothing remains to be said. Even in the 
snell bite of the oncoming winter, it could not look 
otherwise than what it is ever — the veritable City of 

We found the Bishop, simple in his tastes as always, 
resting, staff in hand, upon a seat just outside the little 
cathedral, his feet deep in the fallen leaves, and his 
beautifully clear-cut face turned towards the setting sun. 
I went forward alone to salute him, and he came to himself 
as with a start from his reverie. 

He knew of Don Jose Valtierra by name, and that made 
the explanation easier. We had left Cyrilla at ihe fonda, 
in my old room, where some of my smuggler traps still 
remained, with no little of that " bloom of time " upon 
them, which comes so readily in dusty^ Spain, 

Perhaps the halprt of listening to confessions helped the 



good Bishop Armandus to believe us. Men who daily 
hear such histories in the way of their profession do not 
hastily discredit anything. All things are possible to 
them that believe — even Belief. 

And as he listened, this good man of the silver locks — 
the simple cooing of his cathedral doves in the belfry above 


alternating with the chimes that told the quarters — he 
nodded his head in gentlest sympathy. He had loved and 
yearned over the little maid. But here was one with a 
greater right. 

" Well then, even now I will go and speak with your 
wife, Don Jose ! " he said, rising from his seat, with what 
I could not but see was increasing difficulty. 

As we went down one side of the quiet cathedral 
square, a woman coming from confession by some side- 
i^Qor, passed us with her eyes in a handkerchief. The 



Bishop raised his hand in almost imperceptible benediction. 
I did not see the woman look up. But, whether or no, he 
had blessed her 
unknown sor- 
row. It was, I 
thought to my- 
self, very charac- 
teristic of the 

By gloomy 
cloisters we 
went, the Bish- 
op leading, then 
through a dis- 
used arcade, 
with the sun- 
shine flickering 
sparsely bet ween 
the pillars, and 
so emerged at 
last upon the 
back of the inn. 
In another 
minute we were 
at the door of 
the room, and 
Cyrilla was kneeling before the grandfather of her child. 

Don Jose drew me away. 

"This concerns us not ! " he said, " she is neither my 
child nor yours ! " And truly it did not ; but, for all that, 
I knew the Bishop's way of dealing with souls — and was 

It was the better part of an hour that we had to wait 
there in the chill little hall of the fonda. Before half of 




the time was over I had perused all the labels with which 
the third-rate commercial traveller in Spain lards the 
hostel of his choice — under the hat-pegs, chiefly, and 
spattered round the flyblown receptacle for letters (heaven 

help their 
senders !) like 
bullet - marks 
round the eye 
of a target. 

At last Cy- 
rilla came 
forth to us, 
like one who 
has been sha- 
ken to the 
very springs 
of life, but 
with a new 
light moist in 
her eye, a 
quiver of the 
lip which 
broke anon 
April fashion 

into a smile, and with some of the good Bishop's own 
serenity upon her face. 

" You will wait," he said, " all of you must be guests of 
mine. In my palace it is not permitted. But you will go 
to La Delicia, and to-morrow I and my brother will 
wail upon you. To-night Don Manuel is to arrive at 
El Seo." 

Don Jose and I looked at each other. 
" Good," said our four eyes, " that will save us the long 
pilgrimage to San Severino ! " 





The Bishop would have ordered out the state coach, 
but I managed to get an opportunity of warning Don 

" No, no, my lord Bishop, that I cannot accept ! " he 


cried. ** It will do the Senora good to walk, if you will 
graciously permit ! " 

To which Bishop Armandus agreed with a sigh — 
perhaps in part a sigh of relief. For I think the good 
prelate stood not a little in awe of Baltasar, his coachman 
and macero. Also he might well be anxious lest the 
coach would reconstitute itself into its component staves 
upon the cobble-stones of the descent into the valley. 

Incomparably more beautiful than ever was La Delicia 
— the river flowing clearer — the autumn leaves lying 
ankle-deep upon the ground — the glamour of Indian 
summer in the air — the distance all marled and aerial, seen 



through the framework of the trees — like a dream within 
a dream. Upon the Httle island stood the crosses which 
the banished monks had set up to their brethren. From 
a tangled disarray of cords, I gathered that certain of the 
tribe of the washerwomen occasionally used these for 
drying-poles. I was shocked, but the moment after I 
remembered that probably the dead monks did not mind — 
certainly not the living Bishop. 

The morrow came, and with it the Bishop and Don 
Manuel Sebastian — the elder brother looking the younger 
by twenty years. 

The tale was told by Don Jose, this time entirely. 


And as he listened the stern, grey-headed Chief of the 
Sebastians set a considering knuckle to the squareness 
of his chin. It was a strange story. But, then, Don 
Jose Valtierra was not a man to speak aught but the 
proven truth. He had no rights save those of the head 

2 G 


of the family — but in Spain these count for something 
even to this day. Also, was I, who vouched for these 
things, not the Englishman and his friend ? Yes, he, 
Don Manuel Sebastian, would go with us to Les Cabanes 
in the Ariege — that is, if his brother gave him full powers 
to act for him. 

That, right gladly, the Bishop would do. His work 
was to c.bide in his place and pray. 

" Doniine, labia mea aperies. Et os meum annuntiahit 
laudem tuani" he murmured. 

" Only," he added, " let all be done for the happiness 
of the little one. Because said He not, ' Whoso shall 
offend one of these ... it were better for him that a 
mill-stone were hanged about his neck and he were cast 
into . . . into ' " 

The Bishop's anathema died away in a murmur, but, 
as for me, I thought of the Frenchwoman's Pool and 
what had been cast therein. Truly the Word held fast. 

It was after the ancient cavalier fashion that we crossed 

the Pyrenees — Cyrilla mostly pensive, Don Jose and Don 

Manuel finding much to say to each other, 

°^S while, so long as there was a carriage-road 

^ and a possible vehicle, I wrapped my 

Sierras . ^ , , ^ ^ i 

Aragonese capa about me, and sat aloft 

with the driver. * 

High up on the sierras, beyond the wintry granges 

with the snow-clouds drearily surging above them, and 

the wind whistling through their naked trees, at a turn of 

the pass we came on the true promoter of fraternity 

among the nations. 

"Now there are no more Pyicuees!" said, somewhat 

hastily. Napoleon the Great. However, it turned out not 

to be so. For this snowed-up road-engine, abandoned to 


the weather, was the 
true pioneer of civili- 
sation. The snow lay 
thick upon chimney 
and fore - roller. It 
had drifted into the 
cab, which looked like 
a freshly filled salt- 
cellar. The van where 
the men had lived 
(with "Villa Plein 
Air " rudely painted in 
red above the door), 
was snow - covered 
from stem to stern. 
But in a year or two 
there would be ano- 
ther practicable pass 
added to the few exist- 
ing carriage-roads out 
of France into Spain 
— and of that consum- 
mation, " Villa Plein 
Air," with its atten- 
dant monster, was the symbol and now silent forerunner. 

It was still snowing thickly when we entered the valley 
of the Ariege, and struck the high-road which leads 
towards Les Cabanes. But as we went on we found less 
and less snow on the low-lying lands, so that we were 
clearly approaching another civilisation. 

There is no inn at Les Cabanes (that is, to call an inn, 
though there are two which call themselves hotels), and it 
was a neighbouring proprietor, M. de Gudane, a friend of 
Don Jose, who had been forewarned to receive us. No 



news whatever of our coming had been sent to Bino or 
his family. 

It was curious that I, still mounted aloft, should again 
be the first to see Marinessia, As at El Seo, she was at 
the fountain, with a placard of the last Fourteenth-of-July 
fete over her head. She was filling her pails, and looked 
at the carriage, wonderingly, as it went trundling past. 
A little way along I got quietly down and sent the 
others on to the house of M. de Gudane. 

It was hardly fair, I thought, to spring such a mine 
under the household arrangements of two such good 
friends as Bino and Marinessia, without giving them at 
least some warning. 

So I spoke freely to Marinessia — that is to Madame 
Bino (as I called her that name for the first time, she 
blushed brightly). Bino, it seemed, was absent at the 
farm along the river-side. As I had expected, Zaida was 
at the convent-school, but presently Marinessia would be 
going to fetch her. All was well. The little girl had 
been not the least trouble, and both of them already loved 
her. She seemed to be happy in the place where she 

Now Marinessia was one of those who really love right, 
and who strive to do it for its own sake. 

" No," she said, when I proposed some middle course, 
" a child should go to her mother. That is just. I will 
help you all I can. Count upon that." 

" I fear," I said, " I have done you an ill turn, 

She smiled cheerfully, as she relieved me of the pitchers 
at the top of the hill which led to their house. 

" You did me one turn so good that now whatever else 
you do is right ! " And with her pitcher on the top step, 
and one hand resting on her hip as before, she indicated 




Bino coming slowly up the road, guiding a team ot oxen 
with his wand of office. 

Not till the morrow did we see Zaida. That happened 

to be a day of festival. The sun kept trying hard to 

shine through a haze of cloud, thick as a nun's veil. Don 

Jose and his wife had come early in the afternoon to 

Bino's house. Cyrilla was to see Zaida for the first time 

in a religious procession, so that, if any crisis of nerves 

should supervene, it might be well over before the child 

was presented to her. This was Don 

^. ^°" Manuel's idea. He had had experience of 

cession o jsidra, and I do not doubt that the thought 

the Innocents ^ , , , , , 

of that daughter at home, stealing out to 

listen by the mound, over which in spring the Lent Lilies 
were blowing, made his grave face seem even graver. 
For to Isidra the unhappy, there could never come any 
such resurrection of love. 

So we waited there, Marinessia and Bino v;ell to the 
front, on the balcony at which Zaida would look up and 
smile as she passed. At the next window, dissembled 
behind the curtains, sat Cyrilla, with Don Jose close by 
her side. Behind and also unseen, I stood shoulder to 
shoulder with Don Manuel Sebastian. No one of us said 
a word. Not even the sound of our breathing was heard. 

At last the procession came, passing slowly along the 
face of the ancient monastery, to the eye half religious 
institution, half stable. There were a few people assembled 
to see them enter, mostly relatives of the children — but 
the Ariege is not a department favourable to street pro- 
cessions of a sacred nature — at least, its present rulers 
are not. But, standing out well against the thin drift of 
snow which sheeted the roads under that November sky, 
the neat black-and-white figures of the pupils of the 


convent were succeeded by three tall and gloomy shapes, 
who were the Sisters themselves. Veiled and hooded, 
they stalked solemnly along, looking like the witches out 
of Macbeth, save that the last of them read steadily in 
her Prayer- 
Book as she 
went. Then 
came a row of 
little girls, who 
last season had 
received their 
first commu- 
nion. These 
still wore the 
white robes ot 

First among 
them was 
Zaida. She 
looked up and 
smiled back at 

Marinessia. But for the gloomy 
sisterhood so near, I think she 
would have kissed her hand. At 
that all of us moved closer to 

Zaida's mother, expecting some wild scene of passion. 
But instead, Cyrilla only clutched her husband's arm 
more tightly, following the procession with her eye till 
it was lost under the archway of the ancient church. 

Then Cyrilla sighed a deep long sigh, and turning to 
me, she said very simply, " You have spoken the truth ! 
It t's my Zaida — but, why have they done her hair like 

Upon which, as may be imagined, there fell a great relief 




among us, while Marinessia explained that when Zaidaleft 
the house her coiffure had been becomingly arranged, but 
that at the convent the Mother Superior had her own 
ideas about decorum in hair-dressing. Then, quite suddenly, 
there came an unexpected trembling about the mouth of 
Cyrilla. The tears welled up into her eyes. Her husband 
touched her arm warningly, for in many things she was 
still the child-woman. 

"Well," she pouted, but answering nevertheless to the 
check, " she smiled and hissed her hand to Marinessia — 
and — and — she did not see me, her mother ! She never 
once even looked ! " 

" Nonsense, dearest," said Don Jose practically, *' it 
was impossible for her to see you. But it will not be long 
till she is here. Let us discuss what is to be done with 
her. You cannot win a child's heart — nor a woman's for 
that matter — all in a moment. Now, it is my opinion 
that for the present Zaida is better where she is, at the 
convent-school, and under the care of these kind folk ! " 

" But I want her," cried Cyrilla. " / have the right ! 
Am I not her mother ? " 

And at heart and in spite of my friendship for Bino, I 
think I was of her faction — that is Cyrilla's. But after all 
it was Don Jose who had the contract on his hands. My 
reason agreed that he knew best. 

"There is Monsieur de Gudane," said Don Jose, "he 
has a new house which he does not use. It is good and 
fit and habitable. I will hire it from him, Cyrilla mine, 
and you shall stay there all the winter — seeing Zaida 
every day, having her with you every Sunday and 
Thursday, and gradually — little by little — the love will 
come ! " 

" But I want it all to come at once ! " cried the old 
Cyrilla, her throat swelling as she spoke. 


Her husband made a little helpless movement with his 

" That is as God wills! " he said softly. " I can but do 
what a man can ! " 

" Well," said Cyrilla, " I shall also will it very much 
to come — and perhaps that also may help ! // used toy 

Don Jose looked about him, I think for assistance, but 
all of us were silent. Our feeling was that every man 
must rule his own house, and that with his heart-joy or his 
heart-bitterness, a stranger would be singularly unwise to 

Then she added a further query. 

" And as to Miguel, my brother ? " 

"Oh," said Don Jose, with clearly affected ease, 
" Miguel would not leave his beloved pine-woods for 
anything. But this will we do. We will go on with the 
building of a new house there in spite of him — the one 
which we have so long intended to begin, Cyrilla, as soon 
as you were better. Then we shall all go and stay with 
him in the spring." 

" No," said Cyrilla, " he has waited long — ^just because I 
was naughty and unhappy — because I would have hurt him 
with my angers. But now I am cured, and 
I want us to be all together. This is what ^ 

you will do, Jose. You will buy the place -n f j 
here from Monsieur de Gudane, or give him 
something in exchange for it. You can if you will — oh, 
easily ! " 

Don Jose made a little grimace, and shrugged his 
shoulders half humorously at us. But I think that in our 
hearts we were all glad to see the strong man, the wilful 
man, doing word for word as a woman bade him. And 
Bino from his corner glanced meaningly at Marinessia, as 
if to say that he too had had his medicine out of the same 


bottle. In which he was wrong, for Marinessia Alva 
was no wilful child-woman, nor had been all the days of 

** Well," said Don Jose at last, " perhaps the thing 
might be managed as far as M. de Gudane is concerned. 
He is to some extent indebted to me. But you do not 
know Miguel — he would never leave his beloved pinadas. 
I fear we must wait and go to him ! " 

Cyrilla rose to her feet with the quick gesture which 
denotes the consciousness of power. 

*• What 1 " she cried, ** not know Miguel Toro — my own 
brother ? I will show you, foolish Don Jose ! This 
minute will I write a letter that will bring Miguel to me 
as fast as hoof of horse can move through the valleys and 
over the mountains — your horses, too ! Oh, yes, he can- 
not read, but he will take it down to the cure of the village. 
All will be as I say." 

And, rising, she went to a table, and, with Marinessia 
standing by to supply her with materials, she wrote a few 
words : 

^^ Miguel, come to your Cyrilla. She has been nigh unto 
death, nearer even than you. But she has found life. Don 
Jose, her husband, gave her that. She has found her child. 
The Englishman gave her that. She has found her soul. 
God gave her that. And now she wants her own brother. 
You alone can give her that I Come, Miguel, my brother I " 

She handed the letter to her husband to read. He 
nodded his head slowly. 

" You have the great heart, Cyrilla. He will come to 
you, and also — I think — the love of the child." 

'* You think — / know ! " said Cyrilla, proudly. 

But at that moment there came a whirlwind of steps on the 
stairway. A vision of flower- wreaths and whiteness tore 
impetuously in, shedding hood and cloak as it came. 


My Englishman — my Englishman!" Zaida cried. "He 

has come ! They told me — they whispered it along the 

benches during the service — that there were 

" Mv 
strangers here — one of them with a great / 

black box under his arm. And I knew — ,,, 

oh, I knew — ah, there he is ! " 

And with all the old elan, and some added avoirdupois 
to give weight to her assault, she sprang right off the 
ground into my arms. 

I led her to where Cyrilla was sitting — now pale as the 
useless marble of the monument under the yew trees in 

" Do you know who this is ? " I said. Zaida stared 
long, and then, though without taking away her eyes, 
she slowly shook her head. 

" It is your mother ! " said I, feeling that on this occa- 
sion curtness was the best kindness. 

Promptly and all unexpectedly Zaida began to weep. 

" No, not another ! " she said, " I love Marinessia, but 
— there is the Sister Agnes who teaches me — and — the 
Lady Superior who — scolds me, and Sister Agatha in the 
kitchen, they all say that they are my mothers. But — my 
dear mother is dead ! " 

The colour came flooding back into Cyrilla's face. She 
was on her own ground now. Her eyes brightened with 
a kind of joy — the joy of the winning of love. 

" Look, Zaida ! " she said, slowly, ** look in my eyes. 
Am I like those who tell you that they will be mothers to 
you — Sister Agnes and the others at the convent ? " 

With a gesture of infinite tenderness Cyrilla opened 
her arms. I could see her bosom heave. Her face 
seemed fairly to shine with love. 

" Come, baby ! " she murmured. " Come to me — I and 
no other am your mother ! " 




" My mother 
is dead!" The 
voice of Zaida 
came again — 
but in a whis- 
per this time. 
Indeed, it was 
only by the 
movement of 
her lips that I 
could make out- 
what she said. 

"No, Zaida, 
she is not 
dead," Cyrilla 
"The English- 
m a n has 
I am your true mother. Come, 

brought her back to you 
baby ! " 

Zaida half turned to me for confirmation, but somehow 
she could not loose herself from the drawing power of 
those wondrous eyes, so like her own. 

And as I looked I saw that mother and daughter were 
alike — line for line, expression for expression, the love 
and the need to be loved, their equal danger and their 
equal joy, shining from the face of each. 

" Come, baby mine ! " 

Coo of ringdoves on tree-tops in the summer heats, 
tender voices of lovers hid deep in bower, the grave sweet 
melody of a far-heard psalm, sung on a communion 
Sabbath day — all are sweet, but there is nothing on 
earth like the voice of a mother calling upon her child to 
love her. 


With a sharp cry, Zaida suddenly broke away. She 
cast herself impulsively into Cyrilla's arms. 
" Mother ! My mother ! " 

As for me I went out then — to take the northward 
train. I had no more to do, and what could I see of 
better, or sweeter, or more godlike, if I travelled the 
world over ? 

And as I issued forth through the door, two doves in 
the niche above were caressing each other with low 
murmurings. Perhaps they too were mother and child, 
lost and found ! 

At any rate it was a good omen, and I turned into the 
little white station to take my ticket with joy in my heart. 



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